Spanish Christmas lottery pays out $3 billion
Thousands of people throughout Spain celebrated on Monday night, as Spain’s Christmas lottery, known as the “El Gordo” (the Fat One) lottery, announced its winning numbers. It is the world’s largest lottery according to an AP report, and thousands of ticket holders will receive payouts ranging from hundreds of dollars, up to the top prize amount of $490,000.
Merry freaking Christmas!
The reading of the lottery numbers is a national event each year, as much of the country typically comes to a grinding halt in order to hear the winning numbers read off. In one neighborhood in Madrid this year where hundreds of winning tickets were sold, winners took to the streets, cracking open bottles of champagne.
El Gordo, officially known as the Spanish Christmas Lottery, first began back in 1812, making it the second longest uninterrupted lottery in the world behind only the Dutch national lottery. The Spanish lottery even managed to survive the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime uninterrupted. In terms of payout, it is the largest in the world.
The payout structure is tiered, so there will be a few big winners taking home a pot of millions. Unlike most lotteries where the top winner receives the bulk of the pot, however, the El Gordo will award a few people with decent sized sums, and the vast majority will receive prizes in the tens of thousands, or thousands. In 2013, the $2.9 billion pot saw the top winner take home nearly $5 million, while thousands took home prizes of between $1,000 to 2,000.
This year, it appears that there are several winners taking home larger than usual prize amounts. It will take months to completely determine the winners and pay out everyone, but in the end, around $3 billion will make its way into the hands of Spanish citizens and anyone that purchased a ticket in Spain.
Merry Christmas indeed.