Winning numbers for top prizes announced this morning
By Kate Northrop
The Spanish Lottery has released the winning numbers for "El Gordo" (The Fat One), the most well-known, largest raffle in history, measured by prize payout. In 2020, the Christmas raffle is handing out over €2.4 billion (US$ 2.9 billion) in prizes. That's €28 million (US$34 million) more than last year.
Traditionally, two children from the San Ildefonso school sing out the winning five-digit number for the €4 million (US$4.9 million) top prize a little after noon in front of an audience at Madrid's Teatro Real. However, only the children and members of the press were allowed to enter when the building opened up its doors at 7:15 am this year due to coronavirus safety measures.
Despite the restrictions, the show had to go on. The winning numbers were sung out: 7-2-8-9-7.
The top prize-winning number was sold at 17 different locations. One seller in O Grove (Pontevedra), Manuel Rodríguez, was crying tears of joy at the "enormous reward on a very difficult year." His establishment, like many others, were shuttered amidst the pandemic.
"I'm going to bring some centollos [spider crab], the kings of seafood, to celebrate," he remarked.
In Spain's Christmas lottery, every €20 ticket has one raffle number that can either be purchased in full, or be divided divided into 10 identical segments, or décimos, costing €1 each. Because numbers are also divided into series, there are in fact 1,600 tickets with the same number sold at lottery sales points across the country, making it impossible for one person to buy them all. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 100,000.
Many people buy décimos of several different ticket numbers to increase their chances of winning a prize. A €1 stake [décimo] in the winning number is worth €20,000, while a €20 full ticket pays out €400,000.
But those who miss out on El Gordo can still win a prize. Second prize awards €125,000 to each winning ticket or €6,250 for every décimo played. Third prize is €50,000, or €2,500 for every décimo. The Christmas lottery also includes 1,794 prizes of €1,000 per ticket for the so-called Pedrea. Players also have the chance to win back the cost of their ticket (the Reintegro) if the last digit of their number matches the last digit in the six-digit sequence that wins first, second or third prize.
Before the numbers for the top prize were announced, the winning numbers for the third prize were called at 11:00 am, which were 5-2-4-7-2. About an hour later, the numbers for the second prize were drawn, 0-6-0-9-5.
El Gordo ticket sales totaled €2.58 billion, a 11% decrease compared to last year. According to Jesús Huerta, President of the state gambling agency Selae, the coronavirus pandemic caused sales to dip for the first time in six years.
Spain's first national Christmas lottery took place on December 18, 1812. But historians say it was first conceived to buy bullets and make cannons to fight the French troops attacking the Andalusian city of Cádiz, which in 1812 was Spain's last line of defense against the Napoleonic invasion.
Although the lottery was created during the siege of Cádiz, by the time the lottery was celebrated the siege had already ended, having lasted from February 5, 1810 to August 25, 1812.
The war, however, was still raging, and the lottery spread from Andalusia to the rest of Spain as the Spanish troops defeated the French. In 1814, when the war was nearly over, the lottery headquarters moved from Cádiz to Madrid, and it has remained in the capital ever since.
VIDEO: Watch the highlights from this year's El Gordo drawing
(Click to display full-size in gallery)