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Spain’s El Gordo Navidad Offers Over €2 Billion in Prizes

Spain’s El Gordo Navidad Offers Over €2 Billion in Prizes

One of the biggest lottery draws in the world will be held this week when Spain’s Loteria de Navidad gives players the chance to win a share of a prize pot totalling more than €2 billion. The famous Christmas lottery, better known as El Gordo, will take place throughout the day on Thursday and promises to transform the lives of thousands of ticket holders.

El Gordo Navidad is an annual event which has never missed a year since being set up back in 1812. It has become a national institution in Spain as players gather round their televisions to watch the draw, which is unlike any other lottery and lasts for several hours as children sing the results.

The game works like a raffle and participants are issued with a random five-digit number. Players can decide whether to buy a full ticket, known as a billete,or a tenth of a ticket (decimo), and each ticket number is printed multiple times in a series. There are 160 billetes in each series this year.

When the draw takes place, there are two huge machines, known as bombos. One contains the numbers, and the other contains the prize amounts. As soon as a winning number is drawn, a prize value is also drawn at the same time so that players with matching tickets can see how much they will win.

The first prize is worth €4 million per billete, and as tickets in the same series are normally kept together, it is common for players from the same neighbourhood to all win. All the winning tickets in the top tier in 2015 were sold in the Andalusian town of Roquetas de Mar.

There are thousands of other prizes up for grabs, and more than two-thirds of the money spent on tickets is returned to players. As so many prizes are guaranteed and the odds are so great in comparison with other lotteries - the chances of winning the first prize are 1 in 100,000 - it is estimated that 75% of the Spanish population takes part.

As well as visiting authorised retailers in Spain, players from the rest of the world can take part online, and it is sure to be another memorable occasion on Thursdays as more ticket holders get the chance to celebrate El Gordo success.

Published: Monday 19th December 2016

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