Who wants to be a billionaire?

For a $2 ticket, people have a chance to win the Mega Millions record-breaking lottery jackpot of $1.6 billion. The drawing is on Tuesday night in the United States.

Players also have a chance at winning the Powerball jackpot, which is now up to $620 million. That drawing will be on Wednesday night.

Mega Millions is a lottery game played in 44 American states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The winning ticket must match six numbers, from 1 to 70. Several states permit online ticket purchases. Out-of-state or overseas purchases are not permitted.

The first Mega Millions drawing was on May 17, 2002. That winner received a jackpot of $28 million – a small amount compared to this week’s jackpot.

The most recent Mega Millions drawing on October 19 was for a jackpot of $1 billion dollars. But no one won. It was the 25th drawing in a row that did not result in a winner.

About 280 million tickets were sold for the October 19 drawing. Those tickets covered 60 percent of all possible number combinations.

So, what are your chances of winning the $1.6-billion jackpot this time?

Very, very small.

The financial website The Motley Fool says the chance of someone winning the Mega Millions jackpot is 1 in 302,575,350. The chance is a little better with the Powerball. It is 1 in 292,201,338.

You are more likely to get struck by lightning than win the jackpot, at least in the United States. The National Weather Service says a person has about a 1 in a million chance of getting hit.

You are much more likely to get accepted to Harvard University. The Ivy League school accepted 5 percent of its 39,000 applicants for its 2021 class. That is a 1 in 20 chance.

Americans even have a better chance at becoming president than they do at winning this week’s jackpot. The U.S. population is about 326 million. There are about 10 presidents in an average lifetime. So, a person’s chances at becoming president are 1 in 32.6 million. However, the U.S. Constitution requires that a person be at least 35 years old and a “natural born citizen” to be elected president.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.


lottery (n.) /ˈlɑːtəri/ - a way of raising money for a government, charity, etc., in which many tickets are sold and a few of the tickets are chosen by chance to win prizes

  • a national lottery

jackpot (n.) /ˈʤækˌpɑːt/ - a usually large amount of money won in a game of chance

  • The lottery jackpot is up to one million dollars.

drawing (n.) /ˈdrɑːɪŋ/ - an act of choosing something (such as a winning ticket) from a group without knowing which one you are choosing

  • Who won the (prize) drawing?

applicant (n.) /ˈæplɪkənt/ - someone who formally asks for something (such as a job or admission to a college) : someone who applies for something

  • We interviewed 30 qualified applicants for the job.

in a row (n.) /ˈroʊ/ -  following one after another

  • There are three blue houses in a row.

average (n.) /ˈævrɪʤ/ - ordinary or usual

  • The average woman lives longer than the average man.


Exercise 2 


Answer these questions about the article.

  1. How much is the lottery ticket?
  2. How much is the Jackpot?
  3. How many stats plays Mega Milions?
  4. What is the chance of winning?


Exercise 3

Fill in the blanks

Fill in the blanks with the correct word listed below.

jackpot, drawing, applicant

  1. When is the ______ for the prize?
  2. He is the youngest _______ we have in the process of recruiting.
  3. Oh my, he has won the _______!


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.

  1. Do you play lottery?
  2. Have you ever played a game of fortune?
  3. Do you gamble?
  4. Is lottery a gambling?
  5. Is there a national lottery in your country?



This lesson is based on a news article originally published by learningenglish.voanews.