El Gordo (the Fat One) is an extremely popular Christmas lottery held in full compliance with Spanish gambling laws and boasting over 200 years of history. The 2012 draw was held in Madrid’s Teatro Real opera, spanning over three hours, during which orphans from the San Ildefonso school were singing the lucky numbers.
This year’s draw took place last Saturday, awarding a juicy EUR 2.2 billion jackpot to holders of 76058 numbers. Over forty three percent of the prize pool has gone to tickets matching all five numbers of the draw.
Spanish gambling news report that this year’s draw will provide over 27 million lucky winners with individual prizes of different size. Overall sales of the popular lottery have dropped 8 percent to EUR 2.47 billion from last year. This figure looks huge, when we compare it to the 0.5 percent sales drop last year. The reasons are simple: ongoing economic crisis in Spain.
The tickets for El Gordo are sold in batches with the same number, meaning that usually the winners come from one geographic location. This year, it looks like the luck has shined on a working class district of Alcala de Henares – a small university town near Madrid.
Run entirely by the government, El Gordo is not the only popular form of gambling in the country, besides the online casinos in Spain, there’s another highly popular lottery – El Nino (the Child). This one is held on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany and provides a smaller, around EUR 840 million,
The carefree times for the El Gordo winners will soon come to an end. Although this year’s winners can sleep worry-free, the next year’s prizes over $2,500 will be subject to a 20 percent levy commencing on January 1. This means that El Nino winners will already be paying the tax, designed as part of the government’s new austerity measures.