By Kate Northrop
MADRID, Spain — The famous Spanish Christmas lottery, "El Gordo" (The Fat One) has once again lived up to its name, awarding a pot of holiday joy across the country in the form of €2.5 billion (US$2.67 billion) in prizes.
On Thursday, the world sat by and watched while El Gordo dished out billions of euros to lucky winners throughout Spain.
Ibrahim Cante, a musician from Gambia, had spent the last five years trekking across countries in Africa before crossing the Mediterranean by boat from Libya to Italy and eventually making his way to Spain by bus.
After the drawing took place, he found himself in Catalonia €125,000 richer and with plans to invest in a studio.
"It's the first time I bought a lottery ticket since arriving in 2017," he told broadcaster TVE.
In Spain's Christmas lottery, every €200 ticket has one raffle number that can either be purchased in full, or be divided into 10 identical segments called "décimos," costing €20 each. Because numbers are also divided into series, there are in fact 180 full 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 top prize are 1 in 100,000.
This year the highest prize awarded by El Gordo is worth €325,000 per décimo after taxes. While an eruption of cheers popped up in cities throughout the country, the theater that housed the drawing even saw celebrations happening in real time in the audience that watched. At least one of the spectators was holding their very own lucky ticket.
Many people buy décimos of several different ticket numbers to increase their chances of winning a prize. A €20 stake [décimo] in the winning number is worth €400,000, while a €200 full ticket pays out €4,000,000 before taxes.
But those who miss out on El Gordo can still win a prize. Second prize awards €125,000 to each winning décimo played. Third prize is €50,000 per décimo. The Christmas lottery also includes 1,794 prizes of €1,000 per décimo 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.
As in 2020 and 2021, the winners who receive prizes of under €40,000 will not need to pay taxes on it.
The winning number for the top prize was 05490, the second prize 04074, and the third prize 45250.
The drawing offers a boon of hope during the most festive time of year, with one unemployed mother holding back tears as she described the feeling of being able to provide for herself and her children.
"I felt [the prize] would strike me here today," Peruvian native Perla Gavidia told reporters. Having had lost her job at a café two years ago, the winnings would give her the means to buy a flat in Madrid and pay for her children's education, she continued.
Happy Holidays and congrats to the people of Spain. There are a lot of interesting elements to "El Gordo" that makes it seem like a fun AND profitable game to play. When you have people in a theater cheering for a lottery game, you know you have a good game.
Congrats to all!
Has anyone ever played El Gordo online in the USA and if so, how was the process?
Did you win any prizes and if so, we're the funds deposited to your online El Gordo account, then transferred to your bank account. HAPPY Holidays to all.
We need a raffle National Lottery here in the USA,
who controls the lottery ?and why no one ask for a Christmas Lottery Raffles.
Reading about MUSL (Powerball) and the Mega Millions lotteries neither one of the consortium's actually run STATE lotteries. As you probably know PB is drawn in FL and administrative stuff in IA. MM is drawn by the GA lottery.
Perhaps more this Christmas, didn't follow many states but Virginia did have a raffle style lottery this year again. With you 100% that a national raffle would be a great idea!
What happened with Powerball going Internationally? Imagine the headaches involved in launching that and hope it doesn't happen!
Can you explain to me (help me understand) why it would be a headache if PB were to become international?