ST. LOUIS – Most of us develop lottery fever whenever jackpots roll over to nine figures. And while it may be tempting to plunk down a couple of bucks on the occasional Powerball or Mega Millions ticket, you have to consider: am I getting the best odds for my money?
Your chances of winning either the Powerball or Mega Millions are 1 in 292.2 million or 1 in 302.5 million, respectively. Those odds dwarf your chances of dying under highly unusual circumstances, as evidenced by the chart below.
Event or Activity
Chances/Odds of Death
1 in 3,748,067
Struck by lightning
1 in 138,849
1 in 101,083 jumps
High school and college football
1 per 100,000 participants
1 in 86,781
Hornet, wasp, and bee stings
1 in 59,507
Choking on food
1 in 2,535
The odds of winning smaller prizes in Powerball or Mega Millions are still astronomically high. Your best odds of winning even $100 in Powerball are 1 in 14,494.11. Mega Millions doesn’t have a $100 prize. However, your odds of winning $200 are 1 in 14,547.
Surely, a Missouri Lottery player can score similar odds or better to win that amount of cash or more in other draw games?
Consider this: you have a 1 in 15,480 chance of winning (on average) $715 by playing the Missouri Lotto. That’s a slight increase in odds for much greater winnings.
What about the Show Me Cash drawing? It’s a daily draw game with jackpots starting at $50,000 that roll over every day there isn’t a winner. Your chances of winning $250 are 1 in 3,386.8, far better odds than Powerball or Mega Millions.
The Cash 4 Life game offers odds of 1 in 1,471 to win $100, better value odds than Mega Millions.
Of course, the best value for your gambling dollar may just be the state lottery’s Pick 3 and Pick 4 games. Your odds of winning the top prize in either game are significantly better than those previous odds listed for Powerball and Mega Millions.