El Gordo de Navidad
El Gordo de Navidad is one of the most popular lotteries in the whole world. It has been operating since 1812 and in Spain it is considered a tradition. Official name of the lottery is Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad or Loteria de Navidad. It is called a holiday lottery, which takes place each year in Madrid on the 22nd of December. It seldom happens that a lottery enters the culture of a given country so deeply that it has a national nature.
What else distinguishes it from other lotteries? In general a draw lasts several minutes and players already know if they were lucky enough of if they have to try again. In the case of El Gordo de Navidad the draw may last hours due to a huge number of prizes. The lottery format itself resembles cash lotteries more than those standard ones. It is the second organized for the longest time lottery in the world. It wasn’t even stopped during Spanish civil war, when republicans were forced to move their capital from Mardid to Valencia as well as when the government in Spain was taken over by Franco general.
How to play?
All you need to do is buy a ticket, even through the website and get going! At thelotter.com one can buy tickets for 40.50 USD. In Navidad lottery, instead of one coupon, all coupons called “billete” or their tenth parts called “decimo” are sold. Similarly to a cash lottery, players buy pre-paid coupons, and each number can be repeated up to 180 times (it is called “series”), which means that there is a large number of coupons with the same number.
The whole ticket or block is called “Billete” and it contains five numbers and is divided into 10 parts, called “Decimos” or “Fraccion”, which may be bought separately or as part of the whole coupon. Additionally, each block is sold multiple times (up to 180 times) in so-called series, where one additional number is added to the initial five numbers assigned to the coupon.
The balls are drawn from two machines that are called “bombos”. In each of them there is one thousand of balls. In one bombo machine there are balls described with a specific combination of numbers, and in the second machine, there is value of the prize determined on each ball. Each defined number combination is printed on many coupons, so after winning in a given combination of numbers, the prize of a given degree is divided between all players whose coupon is consistent with the number drawn.
The draw consists in simultaneous taking out one ball from each machine and lasts until the bombo with the prizes is empty. The whole thing lasts for hours and has become an important annual cultural event in Spain. In order to stimulate the atmosphere and excitement, the balls are drawn by children from the school of Saint Ildefons in Madrid, who then sing the results.
Apart from El Gordo de Navidad there are also two other special draws, which are organized every year – Sorteo del Nino organized on the 6th of January and the draw of St. Ildefons taking place on the 5th of July 5. El Gordo de la Primitiva is a regular draw, which takes place every Thursday and Saturday, and players can win the initial main prize worth 4 million euros.
How much can I win?
About 3,315,000 euros is spent on the organization of the lotteries, but the amount allocated for prizes amounts to 70% of that sum, or EUR 2,320,000. The remaining 30 percent is the commission of sellers, administrative and the State Treasury costs.
The main prize is paid to the holders of coupons containing five winning numbers from each series. That’s why there are 180 winners, because the winning combination of five numbers is actually on the 180 sold coupons of each series. If a winner does not have the whole block, and only 1 Decimo, the prize is divided into 10 parts and the player receives a 10% of the prize.
On the 22nd of December Spaniards have a huge chance to win. Apparently, 90% of the population takes part in the lottery. Why? The lottery is a part of their history, and most importantly it gives them a chance for really high prizes. The prize pool is EUR 2 240 000 000. How does it look in practice?
180 winners receive 4 million euros, 180 winners receive 1.25 million euros and 333 920 winners receive 1000 euros each. The chances to win in the Spanish lottery are 1: 85,000.