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El Gordo – the Spanish Christmas Lottery

Posted by dan on December 22, 2010

El Gordo - Christmas Lottery in Spain. Image: The Telegraph

El Gordo - Christmas Lottery in Spain. Image: The Telegraph

The Spanish Christmas Lottery (Sorteo de Navidad or Lotería de Navidad) is a national lottery game organized every year since 1812 by a branch of the Spanish Public Administration . As measured by the total prize payout, the Christmas Lottery is considered the biggest lottery worldwide, with its first category called El Gordo – the Fat One.

While consumer studies reported that Spaniards were spending less this Christmas, as the country struggles on with austerity measures and 20 per cent unemployment, the average amount each household spent on the lottery has increased this year, from up to 69 euros from 58 euros in 2009.

In what has become a favourite Christmas tradition, the annual draw on December 22 takes around three hours as numbers are sung out by schoolchildren in a televised process that has the nation gripped to its screens. Prizes totalling 2.3 billion euros (£1.9billion) were distributed to several thousand winners across Spain with the top prize awarded to holders of tickets numbered 79250, appearing on 195 tickets.

A lottery shop in the small town of Sort – the Catalan word of luck – in the foothills of the Pyrenees sells more tickets than any outlet in Spain because of the name of the town and the fact it has stocked winning tickets several times in the last decade.

Source:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Christmas_Lottery

The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain…El-Gordo-lottery.html

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