Thunderball: Rules, Price & Odds

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Robin Storm
Senior Author
clock badge 6 Min Read
Name Thunderball Ticket Price £1
Draw Tue, Wed, Fri & Sat
Biggest Won £500.000
Winning Odds 1 in 8.060.598
Countries United Kingdom
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The UK National Lottery has been a gold mine of lottery games for as long as we can remember. The website is packed with different games and massive prizes all over. One of the games is our focus of attention today, the Thunderball. If you didn’t know already, Thunderball is considered the world’s cheapest lottery in terms of ticket prices? How much is it? Well, you have to read our entire guide to know the details. The most common numbers drawn are 5, 8, 11, 23, and 32.

Read our complete guide about the Thunderball

How to Play Thunderball

Among all the lottery games on the UK National Lottery website, Thunderball is one of the oldest. It dates back to 1999 when online gambling was picking up the pace in the country. Back then, the only draw of the week was held on Sundays. In just two years, the popularity of the lottery skyrocketed, and Wednesday was added to the list of draw dates.

2010 marks a very important year in the history of Thunderball because the rules changed quite a bit. During the initial years, players could pick five main numbers from a pool of numbers 1 through 34. But in 2010, it was changed to a collection of numbers 1 through 39.

The Thunderball pool remained the same, and it's 1 to 14. You get to select one as your Thunderball. Due to the main numbers drawing system change, the odds for all the prize positions changed. It became less likely for you to win against your ticket. But the deviation was so subtle that you could pretty much ignore it.

Another important distinction is that the value of the top prize was doubled in the new format. Somewhat like your first deposit bonus at online casinos! If you consider this huge improvement in the top prize, the lengthening of the odds is very much worth it.

If you're familiar with how other lottery programs on the National Lottery website like Lotty UK and Set for Life work, Thunderball follows the same modality. To purchase a ticket, you'll need to draw five numbers between 1 and 39. These 5 are your "MAIN" numbers for the draw. Then, you pick a Thunderball number between 1 and 14. The six numbers are your "play" or "line".

When the draw takes place, two separate shuffling machines are used to throw the balls around for quite a while. Then, the balls are released one by one by the machine automatically. As the numbers come up, the screen shows them. The more numbers match with your line or lines, the more likely you may win.

Rules of Thunderball

If lotteries worldwide didn't have a set of rules to define what you can and cannot do with the ticket, everything would fall apart. The same goes for Thunderball in the UK. So, in this section, let's try to accumulate every piece of rules that you should know before playing.

Odds to Win the Prizes

As we already said, the odds elongated a bit when the structure of Thunderball was changed back in 2010. Before, the odds for the top prize was 1 in 3,895,548. And now, it's 1 in 8,060,598.

In retrospect, the difference is massive. But it makes sense when you think of the math behind it. For the same reason, the difference between the odds dies down as you move down the prize list. For example, if you match 1 MAIN number + Thunderball, your winning odds are 1 in 35. But previously, it was 1 in 33. There's no point in living in the past for the odds of the prizes. Rather, let's look at how the odds are according to the current modality.

  • The odds of matching five numbers only are 1 in 620,046.

  • The odds of matching four numbers + Thunderball are 1 in 47,416.

  • The odds of matching four numbers only are 1 in 3, 648.

  • The odds of matching three numbers+ Thunderball are 1 in 1,437.

  • The odds of matching three numbers only are 1 in 111.

  • The odds of matching two numbers + Thunderball are 1 in 135.

  • The odds of matching 1 number + Thunderball are 1 in 35.

  • Last but not least, the odds of matching the Thunderball only are 1 in 29.

An interesting fact, in this case, is that you win a small prize if you match the Thunderball according to the post-2010 rules. But before, the prizes started from 1 Number + Thunderball.

Price of Thunderball Ticket

At the beginning of this guide, we mentioned that the Thunderball is the cheapest lottery in the world? Do you remember? It's because each play costs you only £1!

So, you can get your ticket for only £1 if you want. But the UK National Lottery website gives you the option to increase your likelihood of winning by adding more lines to your payslip. You can pick up to 7 lines for a payslip when you're on the website. And you can buy ten payslips at once. This feature is present in all of the lottery games in the UK.

At the same time, you can pick which days of the week's draw you want to participate in. Thunderball happens to be the most frequent one so far. It has four drawings a week! Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, to be precise.

You can participate in all 4 of the draws or pick just one. The price of your Thunderball ticket will change based on what you select. Similarly, you can buy four weeks' worth of tickets in advance. The lines you select will be valid for the upcoming week's draws, based on your chosen combination. From what we've seen, the UK National Lottery is one of the very few lottery programmes globally that gives you immense control.

The tickets are only available for sale online. You can purchase as many as you want from 6 AM to 11 PM GMT every day. But don't blow all your money on lottery tickets because responsible gambling is an essential part of the industry.

Learn more about the Thunderball jackpots

Thunderball Jackpot

Well, there's no jackpot, to begin with here. The idea of a "jackpot" is that you get a prize that you didn't anticipate before. And the value is mostly estimated. How much a jackpot will be will depend on the number of tickets sold. However, in Thunderball, all prizes are predetermined. Only the Lotto UK and Euromillions have estimated jackpots.

For Thunderball, you have what's known as the "top prize". And it's a whopping £500,000! Another important feature is that this is not a shared prize. The lucky ticket that wins the top prize gets to keep it all! The 2nd prize, where you match the 5 MAIN numbers only, the prize is £5,000. Following the sequence we shared in the odds section, the rest of the prizes are £250, £100, £20, £10, £5, and £3.

You already know four drawings for the Thunderball lottery each week. The days are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Whenever the term "week" is mentioned regarding the Thunderball, it starts on the next available Tuesday.

So, if you buy tickets on Wednesday for one week, your draw will start on Tuesday of the upcoming week. The draws are held around 8:00 PM on Tuesdays and Fridays on all four days. For Wednesdays and Saturdays, it's delayed by 15 minutes and is held at 8:15 PM.

Biggest Win Made

The top prize for Thunderball UK is £500,000; that's the biggest win made so far. There's no potential for a bigger payout anyways.

Results of Thunderball

If you're looking for the results of an upcoming draw because you want to match your ticket, you can catch the live stream directly on National Lottery UK's YouTube channel at the stated time. If you happen to miss the live stream, the website publishes all results at around 9:30 PM on the same day. Last but not least, you keep the handy National Lottery app on your phone to keep an eye on the results.

How to Claim Thunderball Prizes

As Thunderball is an online lottery programme in the UK, the prizes are usually paid to the ticket holder's account. If you didn't know already, the National Lottery platform is regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. So, many of the rules are carried over from other gambling entities, such as the top UK online casinos. So, you'll need an account in your name on the website and a payment method that's registered in your name. You must be at least 18 years old and physically located in the UK or Isle of Man.

You need to contact Camelot with the prize claim form to claim a prize. No other documents such as the interactive ticket, the sales receipt, or anything else are accepted as proof of win. You'll also need to prove your identity, age, and residence in the country with all essential documents. You can also physically visit the Camelot's registered office in Hertfordshire or the National Lottery office in Liverpool.

Taxes of These Prizes

The UK is the dreamland for lottery lovers because all kinds of lottery winnings are tax-free! In the case of progressive payout lotteries such as Set for Life, there are interests, and interests are subject to taxation. Thankfully, the prizes from Thunderball have no interest element in them. So, you don't have to pay anything in tax. You get to keep the entire amount if you win.

Our honest opinion about the Thunderball lottery

Our Opinion on Thunderball

If you're looking for an economical way to start your lottery adventures, there is no better way than Thunderball. For £1 only, you get to buy the tickets and hope to win the massive prize of £500,000.

Thunderball FAQs

If you still have some questions regarding the Thunderball draw in the UK, let's see if we can answer them in the FAQ section.

What times are the Thunderball draws? Arrow
Who owns the Thunderball? Arrow
What are the odds of winning the Thunderball? Arrow
How to win the Thunderball? Arrow
How much are the Thunderball tickets? Arrow
How to check the Thunderball results? Arrow
Robin Storm

Robin Storm

Author & Casino Games Expert

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Robin works tirelessly to make gambling fun and worry-free for all players. With his impressive industry experience, he is passionate about being able to play casino games in a fun and safe environment, ensuring players avoid all the hassles that may appear.
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