If you are someone who is looking to try their luck in a lottery game but you don’t know where to start, the UK Thunderball as a national lottery is a good place. This game may not offer some of the mega wins other lotteries offer but when we compare its odds of winning, we would say it is worth the try.
Namely, the UK Thunderball can be played frequently and won often because it offers solid chances as opposed to some of the other bigger lotteries with lengthy odds of winning. Also, it provides transparency and fair gameplay as it is operated by Camelot UK Lotteries Limited. They run this as a national lottery in their portfolio along with many other national lottery games, so we can safely call them the pros in lottery operations.
With that said, let’s dive deeper into the background of the UK Thunderball lottery as one of the national lottery games in the UK and see how this game came to life.
Lotteries haven’t always been liked and well-accepted in the UK as they are now. In fact, in 1698 there are some notes showing that such games were said to be illegal by default unless stated otherwise and authorized by statute. In later years, only the Bank of England could organize a national lottery to generate money for ‘good causes’ but also to enable Britain to go to war. These lotteries were the Million Lottery established in 1694 and the Malt Lottery established in1697.
Fast forward to 1934 when an act of that year liberalised and legalised small lotteries. So, from 1956 to 1976 such games were announced to be legal and free to play by anyone in the country. However, it wasn’t until 1988 that a lottery game was organized in the UK. This was the National Health Service Lottery that was run with the intention to gather money for the health system but soon after failed and was cancelled for legal reasons.
The National Lottery is a state-franchised lottery game of the United Kingdom that was established back in 1994. The license for running the national lottery games was granted to Camelot UK Lotteries Limited on 25 May 1994 for the first time. Since then, this license has been renewed in 2001 again and in 2007 as well. The entire organization and operations are monitored and regulated by the Gambling Commission.
Before the UK Thunderball, there was a National Lottery which went by that name and had its first draw on 19 November 1994 broadcasted live by its own television program. There were seven jackpot winners who shared a prize of £5,874,778. This really sprung the popularity of the game and it had been operating successfully ever since. Bets could be purchased all across the country with the exception of the Isle of Man where they became available only on 2 December 1999.
UK Thunderball was then introduced on 12 June 1999 by Camelot Group who wanted to bring some changes into the national lottery and attract more people.
Since then Camelot Group had created and retired many different lotteries all with the intention of bringing the sales up. The main lottery game from National Lottery was changed to Lotto and many different features were added to the other lotteries like the Lotto Extra to spark some interest and viewing.
With that, they managed to make their lotteries a very popular form of gambling in the United Kingdom that lives to this date.
As the UK does not tax the winners on any UK Thunderball lottery wins, they pay out the prizes as a lump sum. This means that part of the UK Thunderball revenue can also go for donations in the nation. Later on, in this text, we will talk about those in more detail, but it’s important to mention that approximately 53% goes to the UK Thunderball prize fund and 25% to good causes like organizations, charities, and different social projects.
Furthermore, 12% goes to the government as lottery duty and 4% to the retailers who sell the bets as their commission. The Camelot Group as the operator takes 5% of the total revenue. With 4% they cover their expenses and operating costs while 1% is deducted as profit.
Note that although the commission is paid to the retailers who sell the bets, they can still charge you more for the bets as their commission.
From 1994 until 2020, anyone over the age of 16 could buy a lottery bet and scratch cards of any kind legally. Now, at the beginning of 2021, there has been a change of this law where the minimum age is set to 18 both for retail purchases and online purchases. These changes apply to all lottery games such as the Lotto, UK Thunderball, Euromillions, or Set For Life.
People also need to verify that they are at least 18 years old to buy bets online, whether through the Lotto app or through their official website. The app is great to check the lottery results as well.
UK Thunderball syndicate managers and members also need to be 18 years old to buy bets and to participate in the group playing. Also, Camelot Group has restricted transferable Lottery tickets as they are now no longer available. So, if commercial syndicates levied extra charges on top of the UK Thunderball bet price, they are now deemed invalid or not permitted.
If you are buying bets directly from the National Lottery website, note that the website is now restricted to people who have a UK bank account. So, if you have a bank account for either a debit card or direct debit purposes and you are resident in the UK or Isle of Man you can make the purchase through their official website. You also need to be physically present in the UK or Isle of Man when buying the UK Thunderball bet.
Before we go to the prize divisions and the odds for each one, it is important to note that the UK Thunderball has great odds overall. There are five numbers that need to be picked from a pool of 1 to 39 and an additional Thunderball number from a different pool with numbers ranging from 1 to 14.
If someone manages to match all six numbers, they are eligible for the jackpot prize in any of the Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday draws. The jackpot brings £5,000,000 which is not the greatest of jackpots out there but for the odds UK Thunderball offers, it is very decent.
As for the secondary UK Thunderball prize amounts, if the second tier is won the player will get £5,000 where for the third tier they will get £250. If someone wins the fourth tier, they get £100, and for the fifth tier £20. The sixth and the seventh tier brings players £10 while the eighth tier wins £5 and the ninth gets players modest £3.
Now that you know how much each prize tiers wins, let’s take a look at the numbers that are needed to be matched and what are the odds of doing that.
The odds for winning the jackpot are 1 in 8,060,598. To be a winner you will need to match all five main numbers with the Thunderball number.
To win the second-tier prize you will need to match five main numbers only without the Thunderball number and the odds for that are slightly better at 1 in 620,046.
For the third tier, you need to match the four main numbers of the primary pool and the Thunderball number. Here the odds of winning are 1 in 47,416. As for the fourth tier, here the odds are 1 in 3,648 and you can win by matching four numbers only.
The fifth tier is won by matching three numbers with the addition of the Thunderball number and the odds of winning this prize are 1 in 1,437. The sixth tier is won by matching three main numbers only and the odds of winning are 1 in 111. The seventh tier is won by matching two main numbers plus the Thunderball and the odds for that are 1 in 135.
The eighth tier is won by matching one number from the main numbers and one Thunderball number. Your odds of winning are 1 in 35. For the last tier, the ninth one, the odds are 1 in 29 and you only need to match the Thunderball number.
The organizers of the UK Thunderball have an obligation that comes with their license that they need to give part of their revenue to charities and good causes. This is what they had been doing from the start. From 1994 until 2016 for which we have the statistics so far, there had been £35 billion raised for charities and organizations in the UK.
The distributors that make up the National Lottery Distribution Fund are given grants from UK Thunderball and they are responsible for distributing the money further. Some of the funds go through the government Department for Culture, Media and Sport while some are devoted to education, health, environment and charitable causes. The exact amounts given each tear depend on the revenue, but in percentages, that’s 20% to Sports, 20% to Arts and 20% to Heritage, and the rest to other charitable causes.
The Heritage Lottery Fund was also established in 1994 with the appearance of the first lotteries and to date has given 26,000 projects nationwide £4 billion in funds to support the local, regional and national heritage.
Anyone in the UK and worldwide can play the UK Thunderball. However, most recently there have been some notions of region restrictions saying that players who purchase UK Thunderball bets need to be present in the country when they do. Regardless of whether they are buying through the app or online. This isn’t fully clarified by the official Camelot Website so it is indeed a grey area. We advise people that want to play the UK Thunderball to investigate this further so that if they win they are sure they can get their money from the UK to their home country. Otherwise, why play at all?
However, if you are a resident of the UK or Isle of Man and you have a bank account in the country, you can safely purchase a UK Thunderball bet and play knowing that your odds of winning are great. Also, if you decide to buy online, we advise that you find a trusted online lottery agent who will buy the UK Thunderball bet for you and save it in your account.
The draws take place three times a week on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 20:15 PM UK time. The bets are sold up until 19:30 PM on the day of the draw. Anything purchased later than that is eligible for the next win.
There was one recent complaint at UK Thunderball that they are trying to con people through collecting fees via email for processing players’ winnings. However, this isn’t the Camelot UK Lotteries Limited or the UK Thunderball but a third-party scamming website that tries to take people’s hard-earned money.
It is important to remember that no lottery does this. If you play and had won, you will be notified through your online lottery agent or you can check the lottery results of the drawing yourself.
This one is a legit lottery run by professionals and controlled by the government. We would definitely recommend playing it. The jackpots may not be the greatest, however, the odds are good and even better for the secondary prize category.