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You're more likely to be struck dead by lightning than you are to win the Lottery? No, it's not true.


It's a commonly help folklore belief, the idea that winning the lottery is so improbable that you are more likely to be struck by lightning and killed. Here are the odds:

Winning the Lottery: 14 million to one (approx)

Being killed by lightning: 10 million to one (very approx)

So, it would seem at first sight to be true. But it's NOT. That's because the lottery figure is based on buying a single lottery ticket and getting all six numbers up that WEEK, whereas the lightning figure is based on how many people per head of the population are killed by lightning PER YEAR! So, there is a x52 missing; we're comparing a WEEK with a YEAR. Allowing for this, the corrected result is that you are about 40-50 times more likely to win the lottery than you are to be killed by lightning, assuming such things as that you always buy one lottery ticket per week and that you are out in thunderstorms only as much as average!

Here's some figures:

Buying one lottery ticket and getting all six numbers gives odds of 49 x 48 x 47 x 46 x 45 x 44 / 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 / 2 of getting them all correct = 13,983,816:1

Deaths by lightning, taking the UK as an example, FIVE out of a population of about 50 million, in an average year. (If you have more accurate figures on that, please let me know!) 50 million divided by 5 gives 10,000,000:1

Other points of note are that your probability of being struck by lightning is not affected by your gambling, and around the world there are different lottery odds & weather conditions, and that last time I looked there were 64 million tickets sold per week, which means that if you choose birthdays you'll probably end up sharing the prize if you win! Also see Probabilistic Magic which is a computer program which gives you a better chance of keeping all the money yourself!

Correspondence about anything on this page can be sent via e-mailZurich Insurance

Good luck in your gambling, and may you avoid being killed by lightning!

You can insure your house against being struck by lightning by signing up for a home insurance policy at Zurich Insurance. Although this won't prevent it being struck by lightning, Zurich (who are also a well known bank) will be able to pay for it.

It has been suggested that there should be a revival of Norse beliefs in Thor, god of thunder and lightning. If you want to look for miracles, look at the types of targets which have been seen being struck by lightning!


Statistics about death by lightning are a bit suspect in some places, as anyone who dies near a lightning strike is classed as "killed by lightning" even if they died of falling over stepping backwards, etc. Similar things can be a problem when assessing Shark Attacks versus Deaths by Coconut!