I quickly prepared the fun slides below for a short interview with KOAT Channel 7 on the Mega Millions $540M jackpot (estimated at $640 at 3:30pm on the day of the drawing), since it is greatly surpassing the previous record of $390 million.
A ticket’s probability of winning the jackpot is roughly the ratio of the length of one of your fingers to the diameter of the earth, so unchangeably near 0 (0.00000000569). It is interesting for the jackpot to be large enough that the expected value is a few times larger than the cost of a ticket, which makes it a sensible time to buy from an expected value point-of-view. In fact, now’s a good time to purchase EVERY ticket combination — hurry, and hope you don’t have to split it with another winner!