The El Gordo (The Fat One) Christmas lottery is the most traditional lotto draw in Spain with the large majority of the country’s population partaking. Believe it or not, this draw has become a national hobby with 98% of Spain’s citizens taking part. This is not really surprising when you hear that the El Gordo lottery is the biggest prize fund lotto game globally.
The average Spanish resident spends roughly 73 Euros in the Christmas draw and in 2008 the prize fund is estimated to top a massive EUR2.20 billion. Here are a number of major features of the El Gordo lottery:
o In excess of 13,000 prizes are paid out.
o It is operated by the Spanish Government.
o There is an excellent 1 in 6 chance of winning a cash prize.
o All prizes are paid out right away and are tax exempt for Spanish citizens.
o 70% of the revenue generated by ticket sales is paid out in cash prizes. sbobet asia
Since December 1812 this Spanish lottery game is operated according to exactly the same procedure each year. Two large circular vessels are used; one of them contains tens of thousands of small wooden balls representing all ticket numbers; the other one contains a smaller quantity of wooden balls representing the prizes to be drawn. In the Lotería Nacional hall in Madrid, pupils of the San Ildefonso School (previously reserved for orphans of public servants) draw the numbers and corresponding prizes, singing the results aloud to the huge Madrid crowd while Spanish radio and television stations transmit the occasion.
Owing to the vast amount of numbers and prizes, this process takes approximately 3 hours to complete. In recent years, over 4,800 individual numbers have scooped at least EUR1,000 per billete (EUR100 per décimo) in the Christmas draw. Those who do not win often come out with the predictable remark that “it’s health that really matters”. Players who just get their money back will frequently re-invest the winnings in a ticket for El Niño, the second most significant draw, held on the 6th of January each year.
The two vessel routine is the time-honoured method of drawing the numbers in Spanish lotteries but this system is now kept exclusively for the famous Christmas lottery draw. The rest of the weekly and 5 other yearly El Gordo draws utilize five vessels with 10 balls in each, from where the winning numbers are selected.
Lottery retailers in Spain usually only sell tickets for one or two numbers, so the winners of the largest prizes frequently live in the same city or region or work for the same company. In 2005, the winning number was sold in the town of Vic in Catalonia (population 37,825), whose citizens scooped in the region of EUR500 million.