Sunday December 20,2015 : EL GORDO LOTTERY FEVER SWEEPS SPAIN
Annual Christmas mega-lottery set to award prizes worth Euro 2.24 billion this year.
Next week – December 22 – will see the festive annual draw of El Gordo (The Fat One), Spain's mega-lottery which this year will distribute Euro 2.24 billion in prizes to residents of a nation that is still slowly emerging from the global economic crisis. Get Tickets Here
Traditionally the draw, which is conducted as part of a massive television entertainment program, generates wide media coverage and advertising, with Spaniards getting into the spirit of the draw by wearing outlandish costumes, and entertainment that is televised and avidly watched across the country.
The lottery usually commissions a festive season television advert, generally based on the generosity of the human spirit, and portrayed as ensuring that no member of a community is left untouched by the draw…see this year's presentation here:
The unseasonably mild winter weather in Europe this year has encouraged a large turnout of Spaniards prepared to queue at sales points to buy their opportunity to win, and it has reportedly been a busy weekend for retailers.
It's estimated that three-quarters of Spain's 46 million people will take part in Tuesday's lottery. Founded in 1812, El Gordo is now 203 years old, and Spaniards will on average spend Euro 62.72 each to ensure they hold a chance to score in the draw.
Unlike most lotteries, El Gordo is structured to provide a wide range of windfalls rather than a few huge prizes. The top prize is restricted to Euro 400,000 to ensure that more players benefit from the massive prize pool.
Numbers are repeated up to 160 times, meaning each prize can potentially be shared between 160 people, who have a choice of ticket prices ranging from Euro 20 to Euro 200.
In 2013 a cash-strapped Spanish government introduced an unpopular 20 percent tax on winnings over Euro 2,500 which this year is expected to raise around Euro 800 million for struggling government finances.