Go to the Homepage        Go to our Mobile optimised site

Thunderball FAQ

Playing The National Lottery Thunderball Game

1. Choose Your Numbers
The National Lottery Thunderball Game Play Slip has 5 boards on it. Each board consists of 2 boxes. One box (marked 'SELECT FIVE') contains the numbers 1 to 34 from which you select five numbers. The other box (marked 'SELECT ONE') contains the numbers 1 to 14 from which you select one number.

If you'd like the terminal to choose your numbers at random, mark the 'Lucky Dip' box on each of those boards on wish you wish to play 'Lucky Dip' or simply ask the retailer for a 'Lucky Dip'. (Note: You should not select a set of numbers and mark the 'Lucky Dip' box on the same board.)

If you wish to make another selection, use another board. Each board will cost you £1. Only use a pencil or a blue or black pen. Put a clear, bold, vertical line through each number you have chosen. If you make a mistake, mark the "void" box and use another board.

2. Choose The Number Of Weeks To Play
On every Play Slip, you'll see a section called 'No. of WEEKS' which lets you use the same set of numbers for up to eight weeks, starting with the next available draw. You must pay for your required number of weeks in advance.

Here's an example of how it works. Let's suppose you have filled in 4 boards on your Play Slip and you would like to play these same numbers for 3 weeks. Simply mark the '3' box in the 'No. of WEEKS' column. For this example, 4 boards for 3 weeks will cost you £12. When you give your Play Slip to the retailer, he or she will give you a ticket that will enter you into every Thunderball draw for the next 3 weeks. It's that simple.

3. Get Your Ticket
When you've paid, the retailer will enter your selections into the terminal and give you a Thunderball ticket. You must check that the numbers you have selected, the number of weeks and the draw date(s) are correct, that the barcoded serial number is clearly readable and that the "void" box on your ticket has not been marked. Then write your name and address on the back. Keep your ticket safe, you'll need it to check off your numbers in the draw. Don't lose it ! You'll need it to claim your prize, as it is the only proof that you are a winner. If you need to cancel an On-Line ticket, you must return it to the Lottery terminal from which it was purchased within two hours or, where earlier, before the retailer or system closes for the night or a draw break.

4. How To Win
If the first five numbers in any one six-number selection on your ticket match in any order the five main numbers that are drawn, and the Thunderball number in the same selection matches the Thunderball draw, you are a top prize winner. You can also win by matching other combinations of numbers. See the following table:

      Winning Selections               Odds        Prize Value *
      Match 5 & the Thunderball    1:3,895,584       £250,000
      Match 5                      1:  299,660.3       £5,000
      Match 4 & the Thunderball    1:   26,866.1         £250
      Match 4                      1:    2,066.6         £100
      Match 3 & the Thunderball    1:      959.5          £20
      Match 3                      1:       73.8          £10
      Match 2 & the Thunderball    1:      106.6          £10
      Match 1 & the Thunderball    1:       32.8           £5
      Any Prize                    1:       18.2

* Depending on the number of winners overall and per prize category, prizes may on occasion be less than stated above. This will happen when the total value of prizes, which would otherwise have been paid, exceeds the total sales for that draw and the number of prizes in any category exceeds the maximum number of prizes for that category, as specified in the Game Procedures available from all National Lottery On-Line retailers or The National Lottery Line. If this happens, the prize amounts in such categories will be reduced as specified in the Game Procedures so that the total value of the prizes does not exceed the total sales for that draw.

Due to the fixed prize nature of this game, there are no Rollovers if the top prize is not won.

5. How Do You Know If You Have Won?
As well as the televised draw, you'll find the winning numbers in national newspapers and available from all National Lottery On-Line retailers. The winning numbers for previous draws can also be obtained at the National Lottery Official site - National-Lottery.co.uk or here on this website

6. Claiming Your Prize
If your prize is up to £75, you can claim it in cash from any National Lottery On-Line retailer. All you've got to do is give them your winning ticket to validate through their Lottery terminal. The terminal will then produce a validation slip which will show the value of your prize. Check this against the amount paid out and return it to the retailer. At their discretion, all retailers can pay prizes up to £200 in cash.

Some National Lottery retailers are authorised to pay prizes of up to £500. National Lottery Post Offices will pay out prizes of up to £10,000, though prizes over £500 will be paid by cheque. Anything above £10,000 must be claimed in person from a National Lottery Regional Centre and will be paid by cheque (no cash is held on these premises).

If you match the five main numbers and the Thunderball number, please call The National Lottery Line immediately for assistance in claiming your prize. Ring 0845 9 100 000 (calls normally charged at local rate in the UK except for mobile phones).

To claim any prize above £500, you will have to complete a Prize Claim Form (available at National Lottery retailers or by phoning The National Lottery Line) and give proof of your identity. If you are claiming a large prize, additional checks on your winning ticket may be conducted. All National Lottery prizes must be claimed by 11.00pm, 180 days after the winning draw. You can also, at your own risk, claim your winnings up to £10,000 by post. Send your winning ticket and the completed Prize Claim Form to this address:

The National Lottery,
Accounts Dept.,
P.O. Box 287,
Watford WD1 8TT

Remember, The National Lottery accepts no responsibility for tickets lost in the post.

7. Publicity
If you are a winner, The National Lottery will only reveal your identity if you give written consent to publicity. It's important if you have won a major prize to telephone The National Lottery Line immediately and certainly before you tell anyone else, so that we can advise you of your publicity options.

8. Fun For You, Funds For Good Causes
Don't forget, every time you play The National Lottery, you help a good cause. Around 28% of The National Lottery proceeds will, over the period of Camelot's operating licence, go to the six Good Causes - The Sports Councils, The Arts Councils, The National Lottery Charities Board, Heritage Lottery Fund, the New Opportunities Fund and The Millennium Commission which has been set up to celebrate the advent of the year 2000.

9. Things To Remember
* You must be 16 years old or over to play Thunderball or claim a prize.
* You must have purchased your National Lottery ticket by 7.30pm on the day of the relevant draw to take part in that draw.
* Information about The National Lottery Games, including the Player Code of Practice, is available at all National Lottery retailers.
* If you are unable to get to a National Lottery retailer, call The National Lottery Subscription Line on 0845 9 125 000 and ask for information on the subscription service (calls normally charged at the local rate in the UK except on mobile phones).

* Your National Lottery Regional Centres are located in:
Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Exeter, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Reigate, Sunderland and Watford.

Ask your National Lottery retailer for the full address.

If you have any questions or complaints about The National Lottery, ask your National Lottery retailer or phone The National Lottery Line on 0845 9 100 000 (calls normally charged at the local rate in the UK except on mobile phones). Or you can write to this address:

The National Lottery,
P.O. Box 1010,
Liverpool. L70 1NL

THUNDERBALL Frequently Asked Questions

When was the first Thunderball draw?
The first Thunderball tickets went on sale on Monday 7th June 1999 and the first Thunderball draw took place on Saturday 12th June 1999.

When was the first midweek Thunderball draw?
The first midweek Thunderball draw took place on Wednesday 23rd October 2002.

How do I play the Thunderball Game?
At present you have to fill in a Play Slip at your nearest National Lottery retailer and pay in cash for up to 8 draws' worth of numbers or take out a subscription by post. You cannot play The National Lottery Thunderball Game online or from outside the UK.

How are the Prizes Calculated?
The overall odds of matching 5 main numbers plus the Thunderball are 1 in 3,895,584. Due to the fixed prize nature of this game there are no rollovers if the top prize is not won.

What You Can Win
Depending on the number of winners overall and per prize category, prizes may on occasion be less than stated on the Prize Allocation page.

On average 54% of sales for Thunderball will be paid out in prizes to players.

What are the odds of winning on Thunderball?
The odds of winning any prize on Thunderball are just 1 in 18.2! Here is a complete breakdown of the odds of winning.

Match 5 and the Thunderball  1:3,895,584
Match 5 	                1:299,661
Match 4 and the Thunderball  1:26,866
Match 4 	                1:2,067
Match 3 and the Thunderball  1:960
Match 3 	                1:74
Match 2 and the Thunderball  1:107
Match 1 and the Thunderball  1:33

The above is reproduced from the "How To Play The National Lottery Thunderball Game" leaflet published by the National Lottery National-Lottery.co.uk