Once again this week we find some crazy rollover jackpots for the US Powerball and Mega Millions.
It’s exciting. It’s headline grabbing.
After all, Powerball is now at $101 Million, and Mega Millions is $244 Million.
But before you throw all your lottery budget in their direction, spare a thought for why those jackpots are so big.
Rollovers happen more often where the odds are much tougher. That’s by design of course, because as we can see big jackpots get big publicity. And big publicity sells more tickets.
So what are the odds of winning Powerball or Mega Millions?
Powerball =1 in 195,249,054
Mega Millions = 1 in 175,711,536
Those numbers don’t mean much to most of us – they’re just too big to really understand.
Let’s just compare with a more typical 6 balls from 49 lottery (where the odds are 1 in 13,983,816). So it’s actually 14 times harder to win Powerball and 12 times harder to win Mega Millions.
Or to put it another way, you’d have to buy 14 Powerball tickets just to have the same chances of winning as 1 single ticket for a 6/49 draw.
Would you prefer the odds be made easier? So the smaller jackpots will be paid out to more people?