Lotto players across the country are optimistically filling out tickets hoping to become instant mega-millionaires. The multi-state Mega Millions jackpot is nearing an all-time high as Tuesday’s drawing approaches. As of Monday, the Mega Millions jackpot had risen to an estimated $586 million, and is expected to rise to more than $600 million by the 10 PM CT drawing Tuesday. The $656 million dollar jackpot that was won in April of this year is the largest Mega Millions payout ever.

Mega Millions

Recently changed game odds

Many casual lotto players are not aware that the odds of winning got a bit longer on October 22. That’s because October 22nd is when Mega Millions increased the odds of winning from 1 in 176 million to 1 in 259 million. They accomplished this by increasing the pool of numbers players choose from.

The original Mega Millions involved choosing five numbers ranging from one to 56 and a gold ball with numbers from one to 46. The numbers to choose from in the new version range from one to 75, but the gold ball only has 15 numbers to choose from.

Mega Millions jackpot could reach $1 billion by Christmas

The Mega Millions jackpot has not been hit since the October 22 change to the game. If the jackpot is not hit on Tuesday, officials estimate Friday’s jackpot to hit $800 million. If that jackpot is not hit, the following Friday’s jackpot is likely to top $1 billion.

More likely to be hit by an asteroid or comet

According to CNN, statisticians at Tulane University have calculated that the combined odds of getting hit by an asteroid or comet are about 1 in 250,000, which makes you around 1,000 times more likely to be struck by an asteroid or comet than to win the Mega Millions jackpot. You are also around 80 times more likely to be struck by lightning (1 in 3 million) than you are to win the big jackpot.

Also see: International Lottery & Totalizator Systems (ITSI)