Tuesday December 22,2015 : EL GORDO FILLS SPANISH POCKETS (Update)
Especially in one coastal city where all 1,600 major prize tickets were sold.
The residents of Roquetas de Mar, a coastal town in southern Spain, have been popping champagne corks today as the results of Spain’s mega-lottery, El Gordo were released, with the major winning number on 1,600 tickets that were sold in the town and are worth Euro 400,000 each.
The winning number – 79140 – appeared on the tickets in the annual festive season draw, bringing welcome economic relief to many Spanish people battered by the long-running global financial recession.
The December 22 televised draw and accompanying traditional show had millions of Spaniards glued to their television sets and hoping for windfalls.
El Gordo tickets are sold in lottery sites around the country and deliver a range of cash prizes, but this year the top value tickets were sold entirely by one lottery agent. Lottery officials say that can happen because punters don't pick their own numbers.
The infusion of Euro 640 million in new money into Roquetas de Mar, which has a 31 percent unemployment rate, prompted the mayor to applaud the news as delighted winners showed up at the lottery agency and started celebrating.
"I'm really happy and I congratulate all the winners," Mayor Gabriel Amat said. "It's very important for the town, especially in the difficult times we've been facing."
This year El Gordo disbursed Euro 2.2 billion in prize money, making it the world's biggest lottery; lottery officials said ticket sales totalled Euro 2.5 billion this year, up 4.5 percent from last year.