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Background Information

(Navidad) (El Gordo) (The Fat One)

Spain's largest lottery organisation Loterías y Apuestas del Estado SELAE offers 'Navidad' (El Gordo, the fat one) the only single lottery draw in the world to award more than $1 billion in prizes.
Navid captivates the entire nation. This can be seen not only in the popular hobby of collecting old lottery tickets, tickets from the first draw have been known to bring in excess of US$10,000, but also in ticket numbers that are held, indeed cherished, by families. Some families have reserved the same number for 50 years, passing it from generation to generation.
Sales during December for the annual Christmas draw of Navidad account for approximately 23% of total sales for ONLAE
El Gordo, the Spanish Christmas Lottery has taken place every year since 1812 and is routinely worth billions.
In 2012, for example, El Gordo’s prize pool was a gigantic $US3.3 billion.
While that giant prize pool may get split among thousands of winners — in other words, there is no one mega-jackpot — the drawing’s three-hour ceremony, held strictly at 9:00am and followed by torrents of wine, is a sacred part of Spanish culture.
Unbelievably, the very first El Gordo ceremony was held five days before Spain ratified its Constitution in 1812. It has continued every year since then, even through the country’s civil war in the early 20th century.
The ceremony proceeds largely the same way, with two children pulling balls from two giant hoppers. One hopper has the winning numbers; the other has the dollar amount.
During the three-hour ceremony, the entire country is hoping their five-digit ticket will match with the top prize: the El Gordo ball. In 2015, that ball alone was worth $700 million, which was split between roughly 1,600 people in the the southern coastal town of Roquetas de Mar.
There are hundreds of other winning numbers, and Spaniards will go to any lengths to muster up some good fortune. In other words: costumes.
Unlike America’s Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot, El Gordo doles out smaller, six-figure prizes to thousands — sometimes entire towns. These increased odds are what lead people to spend more on tickets, which causes the pot to swell.
Victory over the probability gods is a family affair.
Which means there is no shortage of wine-filled celebrations. Spaniards prefer to use cava, a sparkling white wine.
Even for people like this couple who won a lesser prize, a winning ticket equates to thousands of dollars.

News CY2017

News CY2016
December 16, 2016 The Legendary Luck of This Spanish Lottery Shop Keeps ‘El Gordo’ Players Coming Back
December 14, 2016 The Ultimate Guide to 'El Gordo' - Spain's Fat Christmas Lottery
November 4, 2016 Internet Sales of El Gordo Tickets Continue to Grow
July 15, 2016 El Gordo Christmas Lottery Sales Launched in July

News CY2014
November 25, 2014 Superstition Playing Huge Part as Spaniards Increase Spending on la lotería de Navidad


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