Lucky For Some

Photo from MSN.com site
Today is the first day of Christmas here in Spain. It is the day of El Gordo, the huge Christmas lottery. All over Spain television sets were switched on at 8 am as a succession of children from a Madrid school called out the winning numbers and the value of the prize. Wherever you find yourself within earshot of a set, the chant "Cincuenta y uno, tres cientos, cuarenta y ocho", "Miiiiil eeuurooos!" continues for the best part of five hours until some 1800 numbers have been drawn and an early Christmas present has been conjured up for many times that number of people. A 'bote' or full ticket costs 200€, but most tickets are sold as 'decimos' (one tenth of a ticket) at 20€ each. Often friends will club together to share a decimo.
A ticket bears a five digit number, yielding a possible 99,999 combinations, but each number is sold many times over. In Málaga, for instance, ticket number 15548 had been sold forty times. It drew one of eight fifth prizes, delivering some 2 million euros into the Perchel district of the city. The same number had been sold elsewhere in Spain as well of course, so that set of five digits brought joy to many more people. Each 'bote' receives the full, fifth prize of 5,000€ which is then shared between the holders of decimos of that ticket.
The winning ticket this year - El Gordo - (79250) was worth 3,000,000€ and thirteen of these tickets were sold, giving a first prize total of 39,000,000€. You can see how it mounts up, and why this is a day when not very much gets done - except by the TV crews rushing to interview winners in pueblos or barrios where the big tickets have been sold.
Oh, and Christmas draws to a close on 6th January which is not only the Feast of the Three Kings, but also the occasion of the other Christmas mega-lottery, El Niño; must remember to get my decimo!


  1. I need to make a correction. I way understated the number of tickets available for El Gordo! There are, would you believe, 195 series of 99,999 tickets, a total of 19,499,805 tickets at 200€ each, and yielding a truly spectacular prize fund of 2.3bn€ and a potential first prize payout of 585,000,000€. Rather puts Euromillions in the shade!

  2. "Cincuenta y uno, tres cientos, cuarenta y ocho"
    ¿No será, mas bien ""Cincuenta y un mil, tres cientos, cuarenta y ocho"?
    A 'bote' or full ticket costs 200€. Creo que en lugar de "bote" debe ser "billete" El "bote" es la cantidad que se va acumulando en "La Primitiva", Bono Loto y otras loterías, procedente de los premios desiertos.