The Mega Millions grand prize has reached a whopping $660 million, but even as the big prize has increased, the odds of winning all that money have remained the same — a staggering one in 302.5 million.
To put that into context, the odds of getting struck by lightning are less than one in a million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So, how do you increase your odds?
Jake Harris, the Michigan state lottery player relations manager, says to always put your money in if your coworkers or family are pooling together.
“My recommendation to people who have a lottery pool at work is to always put in the money because you don’t want to be the one left working in your group if it does happen to win and you didn’t pay for your ticket that week,” Harris said.
The jackpot for Friday night’s drawing has grown so large because there hasn’t been a winner in three months. Those 27 consecutive drawings without anyone matching all six numbers has allowed the jackpot to gradually grow from its $20 million starting point in April.
When it comes to picking your numbers, Harris said there is no way to predict what will be the winning numbers since the lottery is completely random.
“The only guarantee with the lottery is that you can’t win if you don’t play. So you’ve got to take a chance to win,” Harris said.
The highlighted pre-tax $660 million prize is for a winner who takes an annuity option, paid out in 30 annual payments. Most players choose the cash option, which for Friday’s drawing would be $376.9 million.
If you are lucky enough to win, Harris recommended first signing the back of your ticket. Then, Harris said to take your time claiming the prize. Like some winners, you may want to contact an attorney or financial advisor before you make your claim, he explained.
“There’s no rush. Get your ducks in a row, decide what you want to do, and take your time,” he said. “Don’t rush into anything, I guess, would be my biggest advice to anybody who wins.”
Mega Millions is played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The game is overseen by state lottery officials. The next drawing is Friday, July 22, at 11 p.m. ET.