The Mega Millions numbers game

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Mega Millions jackpot is now a whopping $355 million dollars. It's now rolled over 15 times without a winner. Your next chance to become the newest millionaire is Tuesday night.

Eyewitness News reporter Sandra Bookman is in Union Square with a look at the most commonly played numbers.

Plenty of people are willing to take a chance no matter how great the odds.

"You've got to be in it to win it," one lotto player said.

And that is the hope of every single person who buys a lottery ticket.

"It's too large to resist," a lotto player said.

"It's so big this time, I figure someone's gotta win so what the heck," another lotto player said.

That kind of enthusiasm has pushed the Mega Million jackpot to $355 million dollars before noon on Monday. Lottery officials say the most commonly played numbers are 1 through 31 -- likely birthdays, anniversaries and other personally important dates.

But your chances of winning remain the same, about 1 in 176 million to be exact.

Linda Friedman is a professor of statistics at Baruch College. She says she doesn't play the lottery because there's virtually no chance of a return on the investment. But she acknowledges those who do play, hope seems to be worth the cost.

"The value of the ticket is not what they're paying for. They're paying for something else ... paying for a chance to win," she said.

The drawing for the $355 million dollar jackpot is Tuesday night just before Eyewitness News at 11 p.m.

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