Feeling Lucky? How Lotto Odds Compare to Shark Attacks and Lightning Strikes

You're more likely to get killed by an asteroid or injured by a toilet than win the lottery.

Someone out there owns a winning Mega Millions ticket worth half of the $648 million jackpot. Is it you?

Chances are it won't be.

Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Georgia, purchased a lucky ticket from a newsstand in Atlanta and won half the jackpot. Her strategy? Using family members' birthdays.

The other winner has not come forward—yet.

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot hover around 1 in 259 million, thanks to an October 2013 increase in numbers available for the lottery. Before the increase, the odds of winning the jackpot were 1 in 176 million.

To put that in perspective, the population of the United States is around 317 million people.

Lottery Design Makes It Nearly Impossible to Win

To understand the lottery, you need to understand odds.

Lottery jackpots grow when the numbers on the tickets people buy don't match the numbers that are drawn. When no matches occur, the jackpot increases. This particular prize grew after 20 straight drawings with no matches.

Experts say that the Mega Millions lottery has grown exponentially in size thanks to a larger pool of numbers introduced in October. More numbers means fewer chances of matching the drawn numbers, which in turn leads to ever increasing prizes.

The more people who play the lottery, the bigger the jackpot becomes and the lower the odds of winning—becoming a vicious cycle.

Odds of Winning Lottery Low

Trying to figure out the odds of winning the lottery? Here are some things that are more likely to happen to you.

Read This Next

These ants can shrink and regrow their brains

How to stop discarded face masks from polluting the planet

‘Tiger King’ stars’ face scrutiny in court

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet