The multistate Mega Millions lottery jackpot that is set to reach a world-record $640 million has people lining up at convenience stores in the 42 states and Washington, D.C., where the tickets are sold.
But the odds of winning, experts say, are longer than long.
Mike Catalano, chairman of the mathematics department at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., discourages lottery play because of the low odds of winning - 1 in 176 million.
He concedes the more tickets you buy, the better your chances of winning.
But he says a player is about 50 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to win the jackpot. Of course, he says, if you buy 50 tickets, "you've equalized your chances of winning the jackpot with getting struck by lightning."