A common claim about how unlikely it is to win a multi-million dollar lottery jackpot is that one is more likely to be struck by lightning than to win the lottery. Is this claim true? Assume our player is playing the Powerball lottery in the United States of America and purchases one ticket.
As an "Average" person, you are vastly more likely to be hit by lightning over the course of a year (somewhere in the range 1 in 280,000 through 1 in 960,000) than you are to win the jackpot on the powerball lottery in a year (roughly 1 in 2.8 million if you play twice a week for 52 weeks).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration produce a lightning safety pamphlet which states (Emphasis theirs)
The Odds Of An Individual Being A Lightning Casualty In A Year In The U.S. Is About 280,000-To-One -- If You’re An Average Person, In An Average Location, With Average Outside Activities, And Average Lightning Safety Behavior. That’s About 3,000-To-One Over Your Lifetime
However the National Weather service (Oddly enough, a part of the NOAA) lists this same (or similar) probability as:
Odds of being struck in a given year (estimated total deaths + injuries) 1/960,000
Wikipedia lists the current probability of a jackpot win on the powerball lottery with the current game listed as odds of
If we extend this out to a year's play (in order to bring into line with the NOAA's annual probability) at 2 plays per week for 52 weeks we get a figure of