MegaMillions Jackpot

The estimated payout for the MegaMillions Lottery on Friday is $476,000,000, the highest payout ever for MegaMillions.

Does it make mathematical sense to buy a ticket today?

From the How To Play website:

Interesting stat in the news article that allows you to figure out how many tickets were sold for the last drawing:

The odds of winning any of the Mega Millions prizes are approximately 1 in 40.

The estimated jackpot is based on national sales up to the time of the drawing. In the last drawing, in which there was no jackpot winner, almost 2.9 million tickets won Mega Millions prizes.

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One Response to MegaMillions Jackpot

  1. CalcDave says:

    Aw dang. I kept meaning to write a blog about this, too!

    So, here’s what I’m thinking. The only way to be sure to win is if you play all the numbers. Since there are 175,711,536 tickets, it will cost you that many dollars to play them all. The catch is, with playing all the numbers, you also win all the smaller prizes! So, how much are the smaller prizes worth? Here’s what I get:

    $250K has 45 winning tickets. (total of $11,250,000)
    $10K has 255 (= 51*5) tickets. (total of $2,550,000)
    $150 (4+0) has 11475 (=255*45) tickets. (total of $1,687,500)
    $150 (3+1) has 12750 (= 51*50*5) tickets. (total of $1,912,500)
    $7 has 573750 (=12750*45) tickets. (total of $4,016,250)
    $10 has 208250 (=51*50*49*5/3) tickets. (total of $2,082,500)
    $3 has 1249500 (=51*50*49*48*5/4!) tickets. (total of $3,748,500)
    $2 has 2349060 (=51*50*49*48*47/5!) tickets. (total of $4,698,120)

    So, the small prizes total up to $31,979,120. That leaves $143,732,416 to recoup from the jackpot. I don’t really care to look up all the tax laws and whatever, so as long as that doesn’t take more than 30% you could break even.

    Other considerations: Someone else wins and you have to share the jackpot significantly cutting down your winnings. Taxes on smaller prizes. Logistics of buying almost 176 million tickets.

    I just thought it would be fun to drive up to the lottery headquarters and say, “I’ll buy all the tickets, please.”

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