It’s one of the oldest lotteries in the world, dating back to 1821, and every year the people of Spain and beyond look forward to El Gordo as Christmas approaches. Its €2 billion prize pool is the biggest in the world and thousands of prizes are won every time the lottery takes place.
Each year the lottery takes place on 22nd December at the opera house in Madrid. The ceremony is televised and the winning numbers are called out by children from Madrid’s San Ildefonso school.
El Gordo tickets are numbered between 00000 and 99999 and there are up to 170 series of tickets featuring these numbers. A full ticket costs €200 but they are split into tenths, or ‘decimos’, that cost €20 each. There can therefore be many players with the same numbers on their tickets.
The first prize – El Gordo – is €4 million and this sum is given away for every series in play, so if all 170 series’ of tickets are sold, the first prize pool alone is worth €680 million. The second prize – Segundo Premio – is €1.25 million and the third prize – Tercer Premio – is €500,000. A player with one decimo would win a tenth of this amount, which would equate to a first prize worth €400,000, for example.
Reporter Wins El Gordo Live On Air
El Gordo always produces memorable stories and this year’s draw is no different. One of the most memorable is that of news reporter Natalia Escudero.
Escudero was filming a live news segment about El Gordo for state broadcaster TVE when she found out that her number had been drawn as one of the winners. The reporter flashed her winning ticket – with number 26590 – and celebrated live with other winners in Alicante. As tickets are split into tenths is common for friends, family and neighbours to all have the same number.
‘This is no joke, I have a tenth’, Escudero said on camera. ‘When I came here I bought one. I don’t go to work tomorrow.’ It is reported that the ticket won her €5,000.