Tonight is the night where someone could defy astronomical odds to walk away with the biggest lottery prize in history, as the Mega Millions jackpot has surged in the last 24 hours to \$640 Million!  New Jersey Lottery officials are encouraging you to “Give Your Dreams A Chance”.  There is a way to guarantee that you could win this drawing, but there are most major obstacles standing in the way.

Because the lottery is so large, you could conceivably buy every possible combination of numbers (the first 5, followed by the Mega Ball) and be the winner, but you would not get anything near the \$640 Million.  Fox News estimated this morning that it would take in the neighborhood of \$176 Million to buy every number combination to insure a Mega Millions victory.  Mathematically speaking, if you would take the now \$462 Million cash lump-sum, then deduct federal taxes to leave you about \$355 Million, and then NJ state tax to leave you around \$320, your profit would be around \$144 Million.

On paper this sounds good, but you and I do not have \$176 Million to play with.  Donald Trump maybe, but not us!  Let’s say you did – this is still a calculated gamble because these numbers are based on only 1 person winning the Mega Millions.

Let’s say 2 people win – the cash lump-sum falls to \$231 Million (for the 2-way split), about \$150 Million after federal and NJ state taxes are removed, leaving you with a loss!  The reality is with so many people playing in this Mega Millions drawing, the odds increase for the potential multiple winners, so is this gamble worth taking?

What may make this “Pipe Dream” even less worth it is the fact that if it takes about 5 seconds on the average (according to the Huffington Post) to fill out each card, you'd need almost 28 years just to mark the spots on the game tickets.  You'd also use up the national supply of special lottery paper and lottery-machine printing ink well before all your tickets could be printed out.

Bottom line is that the reality is you will not win tonight, but you have Zero chance if you don’t play, and the more you play the better your chances.  You may not want to sink your entire savings in this lottery – treat it as the gamble that it is, and enjoy the insanity for tonight (or if nobody hits, are you ready for another few days of insanity and a potential 1 BILLION DOLLAR jackpot?)