SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – With the jackpot rising to a record $1.6 billion for Tuesday nights Mega Millions drawing, lottery fever has swept the state and the nation.
The jackpot is now the largest in U.S. lottery history, surpassing a 2016 Powerball jackpot that previously held the title.
But, as some math experts in Berkeley confirmed to KPIX 5, the odds of winning the big prize are astronomical.
UC Berkeley Statistics Professor Dr. Philip Stark is the Associate Dean of Mathematical Sciences.
“It’s pretty straightforward to figure the odds of winning the jackpot in Mega Millions,” said Prof. Stark. “From 70 numbers, you pick five and from 24 numbers you pick one. There are approximately 303 million to one combinations.”
So why not just buy every single possibility for 303 million dollars?
“Back in 1992, there was an Australian Cartel that tried to buy one of every Lottery ticket offered in Virginia,” said Prof. Stark. “I think they ended up buying 5 million out of 7 million combinations in that game. If I recall correctly, they won.”
Though someone going to all that trouble needs to consider that there could be several winning tickets, meaning that whoever bought all the possible number combinations might still end up splitting the winnings.
If there are no winners in Tuesday’s drawing, the jackpot could rise to $2 billion or even more.
Tickets can be bought until 7:45 p.m. Tuesday before the drawing at 8 p.m.