No winners in Friday's Mega Millions drawing means that the purse is now at $636 million. Yes, that's why the sketchy corner smokes-and-porno shop has long lines—it's Mega Millions!
Newsday reports, "Tuesday's expected prize already got one bump Monday, from an announced jackpot of $550 million, after no one matched the six numbers in Friday's drawing. Lottery officials said the increase was because of 'strong sales across all 43 participating states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.'" (People are really excited.) Last year's record-setting Mega Millions total was $656 million—the winners were in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas.
One man told USA Today, "Even though the odds are against you, it's just the excitement of, 'Hey, I might wake up one day and be a millionaire.'" But George Loewenstein, a Carnegie Mellon professor of economics AND psychology, said odds never matter to true believers, "People don't really understand probabilities at all. Once you have a bunch of zeroes, it doesn't matter how many you have — one in 10,000, one in a million or one in a billion. … People do understand the meaning of the word 'largest.' They overreact to one dimension and underreact to the other."
And New School sociology professor Iddo Tavory tells CBS News that "when lottery players start to fantasize about their future after winning the lottery, their choice to enter seems rational," explaining how the odds are basically suspended in their thinking, "What houses they would buy, what they would buy their mother, what they would buy their friends, what car they would drive. Where you feel like there's actually something there that could happen, not just kind of a fantasy you're having out of nowhere, I mean then, the odds don't matter that much."
CNN thinks the jackpot could go to $1 billion because why not.