Thunderball is one of the most popular offerings from the UK’s National Lottery, and it offers plenty in the way of sizeable jackpots and excitement. So it’s a great one to play if you like your lottery games high octane with a bit of a twist!
Everything rests on just one ball, which can make the difference between a few quid and a few hundred. The top prize is £500,000, which you get to keep it all to yourself if you win. Frankly, it’s probably your best chance of winning that much on a £1 lottery ticket – and you can play up to four times a week.
How to play
There are four weekly draws, and these take place every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Each line you play costs £1, with tickets available online or from one of the National Lottery’s many retailers.
Choose five main numbers between 1 and 39, and one Thunderball number between 1 and 14. Prefer to have your numbers chosen for you at random? Go for the Lucky Dip option and it’s all sorted. You’re entered into Thunderball!
You’ll also need to select your draw days and how many weeks you want to play. You can play up to seven lines of numbers on every payslip, and purchase a maximum of 10 play slips at once.
You can get Thunderball tickets online daily between 6 am and 11 pm, although you’ll have to buy your ticket before 7.30 pm on the night of the draw you want to enter.
The first Thunderball draw took place in June 1999, and originally there were only draws on Saturday evenings. Over the years, the rules have changed to the current set-up, more draws have been added and the jackpot has doubled to £500,000.
Odds range from 1 in 29 for the lowest prize to 1 in 8,060,598 for half a million jackpot. The odds of winning at least something are 1 in 13.
Of course, you can also play Thunderball in a syndicate with friends, family members or colleagues and boost your chances of winning.
National Lottery Thunderball prize structure
The top prize of half a million pounds tax-free is yours if you guess five main numbers plus the Thunderball correctly, shrinking to a still-worth-having £5k without the all-important Thunderball.
Prizes decrease thereafter as follows:
- Four main numbers and the Thunderball to win £250
- Four main numbers to win £100
- Three main numbers and the Thunderball to win £20
- Three main numbers to win £10
- Two main numbers and the Thunderball to win £10
- One main number and the Thunderball to win £5
- Finally, if you just get the Thunderball right, you win £3.
Remember to claim your prize within 180 days of the draw. If you’ve been lucky enough to scoop more than £50,000, you’ll need to contact the National Lottery in person.
Checking your results
Check Thunderball results with all the National Lottery’s usual ways to find out whether you’re a winner. Use the mobile app, scan paper tickets or look online, where results are available from 9.30 pm on draw nights. Equally, you can watch live via the National Lottery website or its YouTube channel from 8.15 pm on evenings when there are draws.
Thunderball is a safe, exciting and fun game to play, with a user-friendly format and reasonable odds. The National Lottery is thoroughly regulated and licenced and takes responsible play seriously.
At the same time, when you take part you’ll be supporting the National Lottery’s great community causes up and down the country. So play to join the ranks of those who’ve already scooped the top prize – as the ads used to say, it could be you! We’d love to know how you get on.