By the time you read this, someone you know could be a billionaire.
But probably not.
The Mega Millions multi-state lottery that was drawn for on Tuesday night will pay $1.6 billion if there’s a single winner. It’s the largest prize in U.S. lottery history.
The odds of any particular combination of numbers hitting are about 303 million to one. For comparison, your odds of being struck by lightning at some point in an 80-year lifespan are 1 in 12,000, according to the National Weather Service. The odds of being dealt a royal flush in poker are 1 in 649,740, according to a mathematician at Central Washington University. And the odds of being killed by an asteroid impact are 1 in 74,817,414, according to The Economist magazine.
On the plus side, you are more likely to win Mega Millions than to be struck by a piece of satellite falling from space. NASA says the odds of that happening are 1 in 21 trillion.
But if you got lucky and matched all five white balls and the gold “Mega Ball,” what would you do with all that money?
The Associated Press asked a selection of people what they’d do, and paying bills and giving to charity were top responses.
Little Rock, Arkansas, housekeeper LaCrystal White initially said her first order of business would be to pay off bills and student loans, then buy herself a house and car. But the 34-year-old quickly reconsidered.
“Well, first I’m going to give something back to charity. That’s what I’m going to do,” White told the AP. “I am. I’m going to give back to charity and then I’m going to splurge. Put up college funds for my kids and just set myself up for the rest of my life.”
Sounds like a pretty good plan.
But if fate didn’t smile on you last night, the Powerball lottery will be drawn tonight, and its $620 million jackpot is the fifth largest in U.S. history. That wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize, and its odds are only 292.2 million to one.
Way better than getting hit by a satellite.