If someone wins Tuesday night’s drawing, it will be the third-largest jackpot in Mega Millions history, falling behind a $1.5 billion ticket sold in South Carolina in 2018 and a $1.3 billion ticket sold in Illinois last summer.
If it seems like these enormous jackpots are happening more often, it’s because they are. And that’s not by chance.
“They changed the rules so that the pool of numbers you’re selecting from is bigger, so it’s harder to actually get the winning numbers,” mathematician Lew Lefton told NewsNation.
When he says harder, he means it. The chances of winning are slim to none. For example, you have a better chance of being struck by lightning, becoming president of the United States or getting a hole in one than winning the $1.1 billion.
“It’s pure luck to actually match the numbers,” said Dr. Mark Glickman, a statistician at Harvard. “I want to say the chance of getting struck by lightning twice is actually bigger than the chance of winning the Mega Millions. So you can imagine, that’s a pretty tiny number.”