[Story updated at 8:15 p.m. PT, to include the winning numbers in tonight’s Mega Millions lottery drawing.]
Tonight’s Mega Millions lottery jackpot has jumped to an estimated $636 million, according to the Mega Millions website.
The site also says that the cash value is estimated to be $341 million, if there is a winner and the winner chooses that option.
The winning numbers in tonight’s Mega Millions lottery drawing are 8,14,17,20,39, with the Mega Ball being 7. It was not immediately known if there were any winning tickets sold.
The drawing for the lottery will take place tonight, Tuesday, Dec.17th, 2013, at 11 p.m. ET, which is 8 p.m. PT.
The odds of picking all of the winning numbers is an astonishing 1 in 259 million. (Before October it was one in 176 million, but Mega Millions increased the number of numbers player have to choose from, hence increasing the odds of winning. At the same time, it allows for bigger jackpots.)
The all-time record Mega Millions jackpot is $656 million, which was won in 2012.
Business Insider has published an article with the headline "Math Says You Should Buy A Mega Millions Ticket Right Now."
That article says, "Notice that by far our most likely outcome is that we get none of the numbers right. There is about a 93% chance that we just wind up losing our dollar. Despite this, since the jackpot is so enormously high right now, our average winnings are a nice positive $1.63, indicating that we should consider buying a ticket.
"Another notable property of Mega Millions is that the lower prizes do not help us too much. Without that jackpot, the expected value is a very unhappy —$0.82. So, Mega Millions really is all about the jackpot."
The Business Insider article also says that the calulation above is if you take the entire jackpot. If you take the cash value — estimated to be about $341 million, "The expected value of a Mega Millions ticket here is lower — just $0.49 as opposed to the $1.63 taking the annuity — but it is still positive, and this is still a viable option."
To be honest we’re not sure we here at TVWeek understand all of the math calculations that went into the Business Insider article.
What we do know is this: For a buck, if you’re really lucky, you can become very rich.