Odds of winning a lottery jackpot are worse than you expect

Personal Finance

If your retirement plan involves winning either of this weekend’s multi-million dollar lottery jackpots, sorry — you’re far more likely to be killed by a falling asteroid.

The combined Powerball and the Mega Millions jackpots are the largest ever, at more than $1 billion. The Powerball jackpot is currently $570 million, and the Mega Millions stands at $450 million. Both games had their most recent jackpot wins in late October.

The next Mega Millions drawing is scheduled for 11 p.m. ET on Friday, and the next Powerball drawing is Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET.

Two lottery drawings does technically imply more opportunities to win — but really, you should check your hopes at the convenience store counter.

The odds of winning the Powerball grand prize are 1 in 292.2 million, according to the game’s own assessment. The Mega Millions jackpot odds are even more hopeless, at 1 in 302.5 million.

(In late October, Mega Millions changed its range of numbers players can choose from, which made the odds of winning the big jackpot slimmer. Before that change, its jackpot odds were 1 in 258.9 million.)

A few points of comparison. Your odds of being struck dead by a stray asteroid are just 1 in 1.9 million, according to Jim Murphy at sportsbettingexperts.com. The odds of being killed by a shark are even less likely at 1 in 3.7 million.

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