Personal Finance

You have a better chance of being killed by lightning than winning Powerball

Key Points
  • The odds of snaring the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million.
  • The $700 million kitty is now the second-largest lottery prize in history.
  • You almost certainly will not win.
What are the odds of winning the Powerball?
What are the odds of winning the Powerball?

Think you'll win Wednesday's $700 million-plus Powerball drawing? You have a better shot at being eaten by a shark.

The odds of grabbing the grand prize are 1 in 292.2 million, according to the game's own assessment. To put this in context, your chances of being killed by a lightning strike are approximately 1 in 161,000. The odds of being killed in a shark attack are 1 in 3.7 million.

Even getting hit by a meteorite is more likely than winning the Powerball — 1 in 1.9 million.

In fact, your chance of getting struck by lightning, bitten by a shark, smacked by a meteor and hitting a hole-in-one on the same day is statistically far more likely than winning the jackpot, according to Jim Murphy of

But should such a miracle occur, don't expect to walk away with all $700 million.

Lottery site estimates the 25 percent federal tax withholding on the Powerball's $443.3 million lump sum would be $110.8 million, and state taxes could knock out up to another $39.1 million (with New York the worst offender). Taking the cash option on your winnings in New York would leave you with $293.4 million after taxes.

The last Powerball winner was on June 14, when the jackpot was worth $40 million. The largest prize in history was won in June 2016, when Powerball reached $1.6 billion.

The Mega Millions jackpot, which was recently won after topping $300 million, holds similarly abysmal odds: 1 in 258.9 million.

And the odds of winning both the Mega Millions and the Powerball are an even bigger stretch: 1 in 75,648,252,765,957,300. (That's 75 quadrillion.)