Why do lottery players think they can defy odds?

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It's the ultimate fantasy: Walk into a store, plunk down a dollar and with nothing but extraordinary luck — you win a giant lottery.

The odds of that happening are astronomical. But tell that to the optimists and dreamers who lined up at gas stations, mini-marts and drug stores Monday for the last-minute Mega Millions ticket-buying frenzy.

The $586 million prize — fourth-largest in U.S. history — could grow by Tuesday night's drawing.

Experts say what drives people to play is the same thing that drives people to gamble: the fantasy of quickly improving your life amid financial anxieties and uncertainty.

The huge Mega Millions prize stems from a major game revamp in October that dramatically reduced the odds of winning.

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