Monday December 23,2013 :  EL GORDO DRAW HELPS BATTLING TOWNS (Update)
 
Sunday’s draw celebrated across Spain
 
In a 4-hour ceremony at the Madrid’s Teatro Real Sunday the 2013 edition of the giant annual Spanish lottery El Gordo dished out billions, much of it going to small towns hard-hit by the Great Recession.
 
Lottery officials said that three out of every four Spaniards had bought tickets for El Gordo this year at an average individual cost of around Euro 60, making it possible to award Euro 2.24 billion in prize money. There were 180 first prizes of Euro 4 million each.
 
Spanish media reported that one of the big winners this year was the town of Mondragon in the Basque region, where citizens collectively won around Euro 180 million. The town has seen hard times due to the recession, with over 2,000 of its residents being retrenched.
 
Other Spanish towns that did well included Bailen, in north-east Andalusia – one of Spain’s biggest producers of building materials which has been hard-hit by the recession in that industry and the hiatus in new building in Spain, and Leganes, situated in Madrid’s industrial area, which collectively received Euro 350 million.
 
For the first time this year, the cash-strapped Spanish government will take a 20 percent tax slice out of every prize over Euro 2,500.