Chances are slim for Mega Millions hopefuls

Hopeful Long Islanders are scooping up Mega Millions tickets fervently with their eyes on the prize: tomorrow night's record $540 million jackpot. It's the largest

WOODBURY - Hopeful Long Islanders are scooping up Mega Millions tickets fervently with their eyes on the prize: tomorrow night's record $540 million jackpot. It's the largest of any lottery jackpots ever in the U.S. Lotto officials say they're selling about a million tickets an hour. But the odds of buying the winning ticket are about 176 million-to-one. To put that into perspective: the chances of being audited by the IRS are 175-to-one, the odds of getting injured shaving are 6,585-to-1, and there's a 20-million-to-1 chance of becoming a saint. Buying extra tickets isn't much help either, according to Hofstra mathematician Dr. Bruce Toff, who said there are so many numerical combinations that extra tickets would only increase one's chances by an infinitesimal amount. Debt counselor Pilar Moya-Mancera says lotto players could reduce their mortgages by almost four years if they put that extra $20 per week toward their payments instead of the lottery.

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