Thursday November 24,2011 : Despite tough economic times, Spaniards are thronging to buy tickets in the annual El Gordo lottery
The desperate economic climate in Spain has apparently not discouraged its citizens from buying a record number of tickets in the annual El Gordo (the Fat One) lottery, according to reports from the Reuters news agency.
The lottery will disburse Euro 2.5 billion to over 1,202,490 cash prize winners this year, with the winner claiming Euro 4 million – 33 percent higher than last year's main prize. The smallest lottery unit sold is a tenth of a ticket, or decimo, which goes for Euro 20 euros (around $26.99).
Officials from operator Loterias y Apuestas del Estado told Reuters that sales are expected to match last year's despite the economic crisis, with the winners drawn on December 22.
Ninety percent of adult Spaniards play the Christmas lottery, pooling money with workmates or friends from the neighborhood bar.
The place where many superstitious Spaniards like to buy their tickets, the village of Sort ("luck" in Catalan), reported record traffic and crowds and has sold out of El Gordo tickets.