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The Conversation: The shockingly poor odds of saving much of your Mega Millions lottery winnings

The U.S. Mega Millions lottery jackpot swelled to a record $1.6 billion after the 25 drawings held since the end of July — including the latest on Oct. 19 — failed to yield a winner.

That ties it for the largest lottery grand prize the U.S. has ever seen. The jackpot for the rival Powerball game also reached $1.6 billion in 2016.

The odds of winning are very small, or about 1 in 303 million. You are about 400 times more likely to be hit by lightning. If every adult in the U.S. purchased just one ticket, each with a different number, there would still be a good chance — about 7% — that no winner emerges at a given drawing and the pot would grow even larger.

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