Those dreaming of a life-changing lottery win had better set their sights on the upcoming Mega Millions jackpot, which is slated to reach an estimated $493 million according to CBS via Valley News Live – a whopping amount indeed. With no winner having come forward for Friday's most recent drawing, the jackpot only increases even further, driving up public interest and ensuring that even more tickets will be sold in a frenzy to join in on the chance to become fabulously rich.
Despite high hopes, it might be best to temper expectations of a big win, the odds remaining fairly daunting to beat for even the most experienced gamblers. No matter the numbers selected, each individual ticket purchased for the Mega Millions has an estimated 1 in 258.9 million – the numbers looking even worse when considering the Powerball spread, which requires beating odds of 1 in 292.2 million.
Despite the long odds, any distant chance of winning such a princely sum surely instigates the thought of picking up a ticket in the mind of even the most casual players. The dream itself, the thought experiment of considering what one would do with all of that cash should they be victorious in the draw, may well be worth price of admission in and of itself.
While the average American citizen spends about two big bills, $200, on lottery purchases over the course of a full year, residents of certain states who have caught the lottery bug spend quite a large amount more. For example, Americans living in Delaware or New York average about double the national average spend, coming in at around $400 per years thrown down on lotto products. Rhode Islanders seem to have caught a little bit more of the gambling fever, spending $514 on average before the clock strikes twelve on New Year's Eve on the lotto.
Massachusetts residents have them all beat to the proverbial bingo hall. However, clocking in at an average annual spend of $735 on the lottery, nearly four times the national average.
While the big bucks come with the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots, the odds are much longer to match. Those small-time gamblers looking to spend just a little bit of money on better chances to win often prefer "scratchers" or scratch-off tickets. Ranging in price typically between $1 and $20, scratch tickets and pull-tickets do not give the same chance to win absurd amounts of money if successful, but neither are the odds so poor.
The winning numbers for Friday's unclaimed Mega Millions jackpot were 1, 14, 30, 44 and 62 – and 1 for the Mega Ball.