The MegaMillions lottery is at something like $500 million or so tomorrow, and while the odds are terrible it’s still worth dropping a buck on a ticket on the off chance you might win. With the jackpot so high, the loss of a dollar pales in comparison to winning.
You’re not gonna win, though. You’re just not. The fun is in thinking about winning, dreaming about what you’d do with that pile of green. But the fact is you are not going to win, and spending more than a dollar doesn’t help because the additional money doesn’t actually improve your odds of winning until you spend far more than is rational.
The odds are 1 in 175,000,000 that you can win. Most people think buying a second ticket increases your odds to 2 in 175,000,000, but they don’t. It just gives you another 1 in 175,000,000 chance, and you’re just as unlikely to win that one as the first. Sure, your chances are higher, but not twice as likely. Infinitesimally more, and not enough to make a difference.
Here are things that Gizmodo says are more likely than winning the MegaMillions jackpot, with one dollar or 100.
- New York Mets Win the World Series 100-to-1
- Suffocate in Bed 2,000,000-to-1
- Killed Using a Right-Handed Product (If You’re Left-Handed) 7,000,000-to-1
- Killed by the Escape of Radiation From a Nearby Nuclear Power Station 10,000,000-to-1
- Dying in a Plane Crash 11,000,000-to-1
So, seriously, spending a buck is OK because it’s fun to dream about being the winner of that much cash. But any more is a waste, ’cause it doesn’t increase the fun of dreaming. It just makes it more pathetic.