DES MOINES, Iowa — The chances of someone hitting the whopping $830 million Mega Millions jackpot on Tuesday night are steadily increasing, but will it be you?
Almost certainly not.
That’s because while the nation’s fourth-largest lottery jackpot has caused a spike in sales that will mean more possible number combinations are covered, your odds of winning remain the same. At 1 in 302.5 million, they are pretty miserable.
National Mega Millions sales increased from $116 million for the July 19 drawing to $172.1 million for the July 22 drawing, according to Marie Kilbane, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Lottery Commission. And with all eyes on Tuesday’s giant prize, lottery officials expect sales to jump to $262.1 million for the drawing.
The additional ticket purchases mean that while 23% of all number combinations were covered for the July 22 drawing, around 33% will be covered for Tuesday.
Sales are likely to grow even more if there is no winner. Kilbane says the jackpot would likely top $1 billion for Friday’s drawing.
The last time someone beat the staggering odds and won the Mega Millions jackpot was on April 15, when a player from Tennessee matched all six numbers for a $20 million prize.
Since then there have been 28 consecutive draws without a jackpot winner, allowing the jackpot to grow week after week.
Although theoretically someone could buy all 302.5 million possible number combinations, in practice it would be almost impossible and would probably be a financial failure.
That’s because even after raising more than $600 million to buy all those $2 tickets, a team of people would need to somehow coordinate their request for each number and payment combination. Considering the hundreds of millions of options, it would be a daunting task.
Even if someone were to accomplish that task, keep in mind that the advertised $830 million prize is for the annuity option, paid annually for 30 years. Nearly all opt for cash, which for Tuesday’s drawing would be $487.9 million, about a third of which would go to federal taxes and possibly more to state taxes, depending on where the buyer lived.
After all that, there’s a chance that some of the countless people who also drop a few bucks on a ticket could match the winning numbers, meaning the potential jackpot would be split in half or thirds.
Winning streaks have been longer in the past, with a record 36 spin streak ending on January 22, 2021, with a $1.05 billion Michigan Mega Millions payout. That was the third largest prize ever won.
The biggest was a gargantuan $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot won in 2016 by three players in California, Florida and Tennessee.
Mega Millions is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands. The game is overseen by state lottery officials.