# El Gordo

*El Gordo* (the fat one) is the common name for the Spanish christmas lottery. Drawn each year just before christmas, on the 22nd December, it has the **largest prize fund of any lottery in the world!**

Whilst Spain spends more per head on gambling than anywhere else in the world it is not because they are habitual gamblers but simply that the chistmas lottery is a tradition in which the **whole nation partakes!**

### Tickets

Each ticket comes with a religous christmas scene that is changed every year. A short description of the event follows this and collecting losing lottery tickets is actually a hobby in Spain.

Unlike many modern lotteries in which you choose numbers and hope to match 3, 4 or 5 numbers, El gordo is still run along the lines of a traditional raffle in which you buy a ticket with a number already printed. Match the number on the ticket to that drawn and you win 1st prize... **sounds simple?**

In actual fact its not! To start with there are **85,000 different numbers** and you do not buy a ticket rather a tenth of a ticket. Starting to get confused???.... It is better explained in a list!

- 85,000 numbers from 00001 to 85000
- Each number is given to 180 "Series"
- Each "Serie" is divided into 10 "Decimas"
- Each "decima" costs €20

Becoming a little clearer now? Altogether this brings in a total El gordo prize fund of

**3,060,000,000€ **, Thats over 3BILLION Euros!

### El Gordo prizes!

With over €3 billion in the pot theres a lot of money available for prizes... Well not exactly as like any good government the Spanish government takes 30% for themselves! This leaves "just" **€2.142 Billion for prizes.**

A lot of money for prizes but then El gordo has a lot of prizes... 13,334 different prizes to be exact! Again a quick list is easier to explain than a narrative:

- 1st Prize - €3,000,000 per "serie" (€300,000 per "decima" applies to all)
- 2nd Prize - €1,000,000
- 3rd Prize - €500,000
- TWO 4th Prizes - €200,000
- EIGHT 5th Prizes - €50,000
- 1,774 6th prizes of €1,000

Thats the "Principal prizes" out of the way but there are also a whole host of secondary prizes on offer:

- 2 x €20,000 for the numbers either side of the 1st prize
- 2 x €12,500 for the numbers either side of the 2nd prize
- 2 x €9,600 for the numbers either side of the 2nd prize
- 99 x €1,000 for the numbers with the 1st three numbers that match the 1st prize
- 99 x €1,000 for the numbers with the 1st three numbers that match the 2nd prize
- 99 x €1,000 for the numbers with the 1st three numbers that match the 3rd prize
- 198 x €1,000 for the numbers with the 1st three numbers that match the 4th prizes
- 849 x €1,000 for the numbers with the last two numbers that match the 1st prize
- 849 x €1,000 for the numbers with the last two numbers that match the 2nd prize
- 849 x €1,000 for the numbers with the last two numbers that match the 3rd prize
- 8499 x €200 for the numbers with the last number that match the 1st prize

That is a lot of prizes!

### The Draw!

On the morning of the 22nd of December each year Spain pretty much comes to a halt and the normal noise and chatter is replaced by the sound of children singing... Why? It is one of the strage traditions that each year children from a junior school are invited to "sing" the numbers as they are drawn.

El Gordo is drawn from two very large spherical cages. In one a ball for each number from 00001 - 85,000 is placed and in the other 1,787 balls representing the prizes. Over the course of the morning prizes and their corresponding numbers are drawn. By this means the tension / excitment lasts longer as the 1st prize, el gordo, is not necessarily the 1st number drawn!

### The culture!

From around mid september onwards, when the 1st el gordo tickets go on sale, clubs, societies, bars, offices and factories choose a number. This number will be purchased by everyone belonging to that organisation. The reasoning being that everyone can share in the joy or anguish that the 22nd December brings!

With €20 being a large amount, and as a means to raise funds, many organisation produce parts of "decimas". For example a charitable organisation will sell tickets at €2.50 in which €2 goes to the cost of the "decima" and €0.50 to the charity. Other organisations such as Unions and Bars will sell the tickets at €2.50 and not cover a donation.

Did you know El Gordo is also the name given to Real Madrids Ronaldo??? Find out more in Madrid Sport!

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