Buying multiple tickets gives you a very slightly larger chance of winning a lottery jackpot.
Buying multiple tickets gives you a very slightly larger chance of winning a lottery jackpot.

The Mega Millions Lottery provides the largest jackpot in the U.S., and winning it provides you with instant cash. It is the easiest way to make money, but it requires some luck and effort to win.

Purchase a Mega Millions Lottery ticket for $1 from a lottery retailer near you in any of the 12 participating states: California, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers--five different numbers [the numbers on the white balls] from 1 to 56 and one number [the number on the golden ball] from 1 to 46--or select Easy Pick. You win the jackpot by matching all six winning numbers in a drawing.

Win the lottery in one of nine separate ways, including the jackpot. Prizes range from the jackpot's dollar value to $2; chances of winning range from 175.7 million to 1 to 75 to 1.

If the player matches all numbers (all five white ball numbers and the gold ball number), he wins the jackpot and the chances of winning are 1 in 175.7 million.

If the player matches all five white ball numbers but doesn't match the gold ball number, she wins $250,000 and the chances of winning are 1 in 3.9 million.

If the player matches four white ball numbers and the gold ball number, he wins $10,000 and the chances of winning are 1 in 689,065.

If the player matches four white ball numbers but doesn't match the gold ball number, he or she wins $150 and the chances of winning are 1 in 15,313.

If the player matches three white ball numbers and the gold ball number, he or she wins $150 and the chances of winning are 1 in 13,781.

If the player matches three white ball numbers but doesn't match the gold ball number, he or she wins $7 and the chances of winning are 1 in 306.

If the player matches two white ball numbers and the gold ball number, he or she wins $10 and the chances of winning are 1 in 844.

If the player matches one white ball number and the gold ball number, he or she wins $3 and the chances of winning are 1 in 141.

If the player doesn't match a white ball number but matches the gold ball number, he or she wins $2 and the chances of winning are 1 in 75.

Purchase multiple tickets. The more tickets you purchase, the greater your chances to win, which changes the chances of winning listed in step 3. To modify these chances to accommodate for the amount of tickets you have purchased, divide the second number in the listed chance (such as 175.7 million for the jackpot) by the number of tickets you have purchased. For instance, if you purchase five tickets, your chances for winning the jackpot increase from 1 in 175.7 million to 5 in 175.7 million; or 1 in 35.1 million.

Check the Mega Millions website. According to the Mega Millions Lottery official Web site, "Drawings are held [every] Tuesday and Friday at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 10:00 p.m. Central Time, 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time," so check on the Mega Millions website (see Resources) to see if the ticket(s) you purchased have won you any money at those times.

Contact the Mega Millions lottery in your state to claim your prize if you win.