Instant mega-wealth is on the line tonight as 42 states (including Georgia), Washington DC and the Virgin Islands await the $540 million Mega Millions drawing. The cash option will net a single winner $389 mil ($293 million after federal taxes). The odds are clearly not in your favor, says School of Mathematics Professor Michael Lacey.
The odds are easy to figure out and widely reported as 1 in 176 million. But you have a better chance of being struck by lightning. An estimated 400 Americans a year are either killed or hurt by lightning, making you 50 times more likely to be struck than striking it rich.
However, if electing a president was done by randomly selecting someone from among the entire population of the United States, you're two times more likely to win the lottery! Of course, that's not how it works. So if your goal is to actually run for president and become the commander-in-chief, your odds of winning are much better than winning the Mega Millions.
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