December 23,2012 : EL GORDO LOTTERY SALES DOWN THIS YEAR
 
But Spain's biggest lottery still hands out over 27 million individual prizes
 
Spains giant El Gordo  lottery was drawn Saturday, with the winning numbers 76058, distributing a total jackpot of $2.2 billion, with 43 percent of that going to ticket-holders who matched all five numbers.
 
This year over 27 million individual prizes will be awarded, despite sales slipping 8 percent to Euro 2.47 billion compared to a 0.5 percent drop in 2011…an indicator of the tough economic climate in Spain.
 
Early reports indicated that a working class neighborhood in Alcala de Henares, a university town outside Madrid, had many winners.
 
The 200-year-old Christmas lottery has awarded 180 jackpots. Tickets are sold in batches that carry the same numbers, so prizes tend to converge geographically.
 
The government-run lottery is a popular event and one of two major lottery draws. The year begins January 6 with El Nino (The Child) on the Feast of the Epiphany, awarding around Euro 840 million, and ends December 22 with El Gordo.
 
This year's El Gordo lottery was the last in which the prizes will not be taxed. New government austerity measures include a 20 percent tax on all lottery prizes bigger than Euro 2,500 starting January 1, and this will impact El Nino winners.
 
The El Gordo draw this year took place at Madrid's Teatro Real opera, and lasted more than three hours, with orphans from the San Ildefonso school chanting the winning numbers.
 
In related news, across the world in Toronto, Canada, a single ticket bought in the city won the $50 million jackpot in the Ontario lottery this week.