Winner Takes $1.9bn Jackpot: Odds & Math You’d Win

A single lottery ticket holder in the United States has won a whooping jackpot of $1.35 billion (AUD $1.94 billion) in the Mega Millions.

The identity of the winner has not been publicly disclosed yet, but the jackpot’s organizers announced on Saturday that the winning ticket was sold in the northeastern state of Maine.

The winning ticket, which cost $2, was purchased at a Hometown Gas & Grill convenience store located in the town of Lebanon.

The winning numbers, which were drawn on Friday night, were 30, 43, 45, 46, 61, and the golden Mega Ball 14.

To get the full $1.35 billion, the winner would need to take the money in annual payments over 29 years. Usually jackpot winners in the US take the reduced but quicker cash option, which for Friday night’s drawing was an estimated $725 million.

It is the second-largest in the 20-year history of the game, topped only by the $1.537 billion won in South Carolina in October 2018.

Odds of winning a billion dollar lottery

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are incredibly low, making it one of the most difficult lotteries to win.

To put it in perspective, the odds of winning this jackpot are approximately 1 in 303 million.

This means that for every 303 million tickets sold, only one will have the winning combination of numbers. Although it happens, but appears near impossible such as winning a gold medal in Olympics with little practice or experience.

Approximate odds of rare but technically possible events for comparison:

  • The odds of a person being elected to the U.S. presidency, which is estimated to be around 1 in 10 million.
  • The odds of a person being struck by lightning in their lifetime, which is estimated to be around 1 in 12,000.
  • The odds of a person being struck by lightning twice in their lifetime, which is estimated to be around 1 in 9 million.
  • The odds of a person being bitten by a shark in their lifetime, which is estimated to be around 1 in 11.5 million.
  • The odds of a person being selected to participate in the Olympics is around 1 in 641,000 (for US)
  • The odds of a person winning an Oscar is around 1 in 11,500.
  • The odds of a person being hit by a falling airplane parts, which is estimated to be around 1 in 10 million.
  • The odds of a person being struck by a meteorite, which is estimated to be around 1 in 300 million.
  • The odds of having quadruplets (four children born at the same time) naturally is estimated to be around 1 in 729,000.
  • The odds of having quintuplets (five children born at the same time) naturally is estimated to be around 1 in 55 million.
  • The odds of a person being killed in a commercial airline crash are about 1 in 4.7 million.
  • The odds of a person dying in a car accident in the United States are about 1 in 102.
  • The odds of a person being born with Progeria (a rare genetic disorder that causes children to age eight to ten times faster than normal ) is 1 in 4 million.

How much is USD $1.35 billion in $100 bills?

To give an idea of scale, $1.35 billion in $100 bills (the largest denomination that has been printed and circulated since July 13, 1969) would weigh around around 13,500 kg (13.5 metric tons) given a $100 bill weighs about 1 gram.

If we stack $1.35 billion in $100 bills one on top of the other, similar to a pack of cards, the stack would be approximately 1,475 meters tall (58,050 inches) based on the information that a $100 bill is 0.0043 inches or 0.11 mm thick. This is much taller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai which is the tallest building in the world at 828 meters or 2,722 feet.