The Mega Millions jackpot recently hit an estimated $500+ million causing even the unluckiest of downtrodden Debbie Downers to pick up a ticket or two in the hopes of striking it rich.

Somehow, despite the odds being ridiculously stacked against winning, 21% of American adults believe 'winning the lottery represents the most practical way to accumulate several hundred thousand dollars', according to a survey conducted by the Consumer Federation of America and Financial Planning Association.

In case you forgot how unlikely hitting the lottery jackpot is, here's a rundown of how it compares to other activities:

  • Getting struck by lightning: 1 in 10,000
  • Dying in an airplane crash: 1 in 355,318
  • Being dealt a royal flush in a given hand of poker: 1 in 655,750
  • Dying from a flesh-eating bacteria: 1 in 1 million.
  • Winning the California Super Lotto Jackpot: 1 in 18 million.

To illustrate which states are the biggest "suckers" for playing the lotto, Bloomberg created the "Sucker Index", which is calculated by subtracting the total dollar amount of prizes awarded from the total dollar amount of ticket sales. The difference is then divided by the total personal income of the state's residents. A higher resulting number indicates a greater propensity for "suckerdom." Lower prize payout and/or higher per-capita spending on lottery tickets lead to a higher Sucker Score.

Of the 43 states that have lotteries, here are the top 10 suckers along with their sucker scores:

1 Georgia - 37.0
2 Massachusetts - 36.5
3 New York - 30.0
4 Michigan - 27.5
5 South Carolina - 25.0
6 New Jersey - 24.2
7 Maryland - 23.5
8 Ohio - 23.2
9 Pennsylvania - 23.0
10 Florida - 21.4

For the complete index, click here. We're off to the convenience store... mind your business!

[Via Daily Finance, Bloomberg]