The Mega Millions lottery drawing being held Tuesday night is now for a pot of an estimated $636 million, not far off from the record $656 million Mega Millions prize awarded in March 2012. If there's no winning ticket, then Friday's drawing could top $1 billion.

One reason for the stunningly large jackpot is that Mega Millions recently changed its rules. Participants used to pick six numbers, from 1-59 each. Now, however, those numbers range from 1-75. The odds of winning used to be about 1 in 176 million; they are now 1 in 259 million.

You are literally more likely to be hit by an asteroid or comet than win this lottery—one thousand times more likely. But that isn't stopping people from buying tickets. In fact, the higher the jackpot goes, the more people choose to lay down $1 for an infinitesimally small chance at near-unfathomable riches.

Good luck, if you're still reading this and haven't already hopped in your car and driven to whatever lottery-ticket seller is closest. Unless of course you live in one of the seven states that don't hold lotteries (or just don't sell Mega Millions tickets): Mississippi, Alabama, Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Alaska or Hawaii. But on the other hand, you'll be at least a dollar richer tomorrow.


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