The Mega Millions jackpot has reached an astounding $1.25 billion, making it one of the largest in U.S. lottery history. However, the odds of winning such a prize are extremely slim, standing at about 1 in 302.6 million. The Powerball jackpot, with an estimated $95 million, has similarly difficult odds, near 1 in 292.2 million. Given the almost impossible chance of winning big, experts advise against spending all your money on lottery tickets. Lottery tickets are not good investments, as the expectation is to always lose money.
The odds of winning the Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot are so rare that there’s a long list of events more likely to happen. For instance, being struck by lightning in your lifetime has odds of about one in 15,300, which is still more probable than winning the lottery. Both games offer smaller prize tiers, but the chances of winning any prize remain slim, at about 1 in 24.
Winning the lottery has become harder in recent years, leading to bigger jackpots. The odds of winning the top prizes were lengthened, with Powerball going from 1 in 175.2 million to 1 in 292.2 million and Mega Millions going from 1 in 258.9 million to 1 in 302.6 million.
When someone wins the jackpot, they have the option to receive an annuity distributed over 29 years or a significantly smaller cash payout. The current $1.25 billion Mega Millions jackpot is the annuity option, with a cash value of $625.3 million. Winners should also consider federal and state taxes, which will lower the amount received.
While some may buy lottery tickets for entertainment or excitement, experts maintain that lottery tickets are poor investments. The lottery has historically acted as a regressive tax on low-income communities, with those who can least afford it buying the most tickets. For those regularly playing the lottery, the expenses can add up over time. Instead, experts recommend considering other investment options, like opening an investment account or investing in the stock market, which may provide a return over time.