Spain’s Christmas Lottery has been going every year since it was founded in 1812. The drawing takes place on December 22nd, and just about everybody in Spain buys in to it.
The Christmas Lottery tickets have five numbers but, unlike lotteries in many other countries, those five digits numbers are sold many times – in blocks of 10 of the same number. If you buy 10 numbers, that’s called a billete and is 200 euros for the lot. As most people can’t afford that, the numbers are split into what are called décimos, and of these you can buy one, two, three, four or more. When the winning number is drawn, it pays out on every ticket. So, if you have a billete (10 tickets), you’ll get the prize money times 10.
The 2011 Christmas Lottery has seen some big changes though, and definitely for the better. The first prize (El Gordo – The Fat One) has now increased from 300,000 euros per number to 400,000, so anyone holding a billete of the winning number would receive a payout of 4 million euros. Not bad for just a couple of minutes work, eh?
The total prize money for Spain’s Christmas Lottery though is enormous. In 2010, the total amount of winnings on the lottery, in first, second, third, fourth and fifth prizes was €2,320,500,000 – almost two and a half BILLION dollars.
The drawing will be held this year, as always, at the Lotería Nacional hall of Madrid, and there’ll be the usual festival atmosphere around it.
It’s not too late to buy tickets, so make sure you get yours. And, don’t worry if you don’t win. Collecting losing lottery tickets is a hobby for many in Spain (they’re beautiful, with a different religious scene on them every year), so you can always find someone to give it to.