December 22 is draw date for Spaniards who have bought tickets in the world’s biggest and oldest lottery, ‘El Gordo de Navidad ‘ – The Fat One – which annually generates prize pools currently approaching Euro 2.5 billion and has the capacity to create instant millionaires.
Massively supported by millions of Europeans, El Gordo is guaranteed to generate excitement, hope and a surfeit of media coverage around the world on winners and human interest stories associated with the draw.
Founded in 1812, the Christmas lottery has become a tradition in Spain, with Spaniards individually or in syndicates flocking to buy up ‘billete’ (tickets).
Tickets for the El Gordo are sold differently to other world lotteries. Instead of buying a single ticket and selecting your own numbers, tickets for this lottery are sold in a raffle style and can be purchased in different ways.
Players can either purchase a full ticket which is known as a ‘billete’ or a tenth of a ticket which is known as ‘decimo’, and all tickets are sold in a series which means that there can be up to 190 tickets with the same five digit number.
The Billete, which sells at Euro 200 each – is an entire ticket of a 5-digit number, which consists of 10 décimos (tenths of a ticket). The price of a décimo is Euro 20 and the potential pay-out is 10 percent of the published prize.
For 2013 the number of series has been changed from 180 to 160, and the total pay-out of prizes should be worth Euro 2.24 billion (70 percent of ticket sales).
Officially titled ‘Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad,’ the big draw is administered by Loterías y Apuestas del Estado and is a festive occasion with extravagant costumes, singing children, traditional draw mechanisms and spectacular settings, all televised and broadcast throughout Europe.