As the only National Lottery game to take place three times a week, Thunderball gives players the chance to win a guaranteed top prize of £500,000 in every draw. For a ticket price of just £1, this game gives players fantastic overall odds of 1 in 13 of winning a prize.
Wednesday 4th May 2016
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Thunderball requires players to pick five main numbers between 1 and 39 plus an additional number, known as the Thunderball, between 1 and 14. Draws take place on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and offer players a range of set prizes from £3 up to £500,000.
To win the top prize, a player must match all five main numbers plus the Thunderball number. In addition to the top prize, there are a further 8 tiers with set prizes ranging from £3 for matching just the Thunderball number, up to £5,000 for matching all five main numbers.
Unlike some games in the National Lottery's portfolio, Thunderball prizes are a set amount which means that players will receive the full prize amount for the number of balls they matched regardless of how many other winners there are in that prize tier. The table below shows the nine prize categories, the odds of winning and the allocated prize per tier.
|Prize Tier||Odds of Winning||Prize|
|5 main + Thunderball||1 in 8,060,598||£500,000|
|5 main||1 in 620,046||£5,000|
|4 main + Thunderball||1 in 47,416||£250|
|4 main||1 in 3,648||£100|
|3 main + Thunderball||1 in 1,437||£20|
|3 main||1 in 111||£10|
|2 main + Thunderball||1 in 135||£10|
|1 main + Thunderball||1 in 35||£5|
|Thunderball||1 in 29||£3|
Buy Tickets Online
Many players find that purchasing tickets online is quicker and more convenient than from a retailer. Tickets purchased online also have the advantage of being stored safely in the player's account so there is no risk of tickets being lost or damaged. Possibly the biggest advantage of purchasing your ticket online is the email notification you will receive if your ticket(s) match a winning combination. Click on the Lottery Tickets page to find out more about buying your tickets online.
Claiming a Prize
All Thunderball prizes are valid for 180 days after the draw takes place, so if you have an old or unchecked ticket, don't throw it away without checking your numbers carefully.
If you've played the Thunderball online and won, the method of claiming prizes is different from the claim process for paper tickets. The value of your win will also affect the way in which you make your claim. Visit the Lottery Claims page to find out how you can claim your prize.
All of the funds from unclaimed prizes, and the interest generated during the 180 day claim period, are donated to National Lottery Good Causes fund which distributes funds to thousands of worthy causes around the country.
28% of every £1 spent on Thunderball ticket sales is allocated to the National Lottery Good Causes Fund. Since its inception in 1994, the National Lottery has donated more than £31 billion to over 420,000 projects across the nation. You can read more about the National Lottery Good Causes Fund at the dedicated page.
The first Thunderball draw took place on 12th June 1999 and began as a single weekly draw held every Saturday. A second weekly draw, held on Wednesdays, was introduced on 23rd October 2002. In May 2010, the main ball pool was increased from 34 to 39 numbers, a third weekly draw was added and the jackpot doubled from £250,000 to £500,000. At the same time, a new prize tier for matching just the Thunderball was introduced and although this reduced the chance of hitting the jackpot, it substantially increased the odds of winning a smaller prize.