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News: ​It is again the Christmas lottery "El Gordo" time in Spain

21 December 2016

MADRID - The Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad, also known as Sorteo or Lotería de Navidad, is the most famous of Spain, held every December 22 at the Palacio de Congresos in Madrid. The winners can claim their premium from 18:00 on the same day, so you do not have to wait until the next day, it's as nice as you become a billionaire. The "El Gordo" lottery is known as if not the largest lottery in the world and just as in recent years, many foreigners will participate in the lottery as it is easier to buy lottery tickets over the internet. Spanish television TVE attracts millions of viewers and millions of participants The highest premium is called "El Gordo" and consists of 4 million euros per ticket. The sale of the tickets for el Gordo is also the longest of them all, since tickets for the Christmas draw can be bought in early August. Tickets cost 20 euros each and just like every year millions are sold. In total, the Spanish lottery has more than 2.3 billion euros among the winners.

Singing children

The draw starts on 22 December at 8 am when the audience can enter the room, which is followed at 08.30 am with the installation of the president and notary. Under the watchful eye of all those present, the balls are led, via an automated system, to the tombola, which in turn is sealed by the president.

The actual draw is done by children of the Colegio de San Ildefonso. Two children get two balls from two tubes coming from two separate tombola's, with a child eventually announcing the song while singing and the other the amount. It is a bit corny but traditional spectacle to see.

The amounts are in principle always 1,000 euros and occasionally a ball rolls out with a main amount which is then brought to the table of the president and his team and shown to the public, which then begins to clap and cheer. The balls are then put on two poles by the two children and when they are full to the notary's table in a box. When that box is full, 200 balls of a series are sealed and the two children are replaced by other students from the San Ildefonso college.

List of winners

The final lists of winners are made by some 40 anonymous people who list the winners and associated villages and cities via an automated system. This happens 45 minutes after the last balls have been drawn. These lists are brought to the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre, the only body allowed to print the list. This spreads the lists through Spain and in the afternoon the winners are known and you can watch dozens if not hundreds of websites or you also won as a player.

The winners on TV

Throughout the day on 22 December, the TVE broadcasts the draws and winners are searched and interviewed. It is a true spectacle in Spain where it seems like the whole of Spain celebrates a party. Given the fact that many expensive tickets are shared by work colleagues or relatives and friends, many people usually celebrate at the same time. On the 6th of January the whole process is repeated with the el Sorteo Extraordinario del Niño, which is celebrated with Epiphany.


A total of 2,310,000,000 million euros (2.31 billion) in premiums is therefore provided, ie about 70% of the 3,330,000,000 (ie 3.33 billion) of sales proceeds. This year there are 15,304 different amounts of money that are distributed among 100,000 numbers of 165 series each.

The main prizes per series are as follows: 1 main prize of 4,000,000 euros, 1 second prize of 1,250,000 euros, 1 third prize of 500,000 euros, 2 fourth prizes of 200,000 euros, 8 fifth prizes of 60,000 euros and 1,794 prizes of 1,000 euros, also known as the "pedrea".

Small chance of winning but still ...

Research has shown that the chance to win "El Gordo" is one in 16.5 million and so winning the Christmas lottery is for many a dream that will become reality for very few, but there is always a little hope and millions of Spaniards are already anticipating what they will do with that much money, even those who have not bought lots.

According to Loterias y Apuestas del Estado, Spaniards spend a lot of money again in 2016 on the Christmas lottery with an average amount of 63.80 euros per person. People are looking for happiness again this year.

Source: Spanjevandaag

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