NewsThicker than ever

Thicker than ever

People in Spain bought tickets for the Christmas lottery for around three billion euros – a record. So there are also a lot of winners.

The Gordo was a long time coming in 2021. Shortly after twelve or three hours after the drawing began, the words of redemption finally fell: “Four million euros! For number 86148! ”You have to imagine both sung by children from the San Ildefonso school in Madrid, on the stage of the Teatro Real, the Madrid opera house. Lots of winning arias. The Spanish Christmas lottery is probably the largest – and certainly the most beautiful in the world.

It is worth taking a small course to understand this lottery. 100,000 numbers are sold, from 00000 to 99999. Each of these numbers is sold up to 1720 times. Confusingly, the usual 20 euro ticket is called “décimo”, which means it is one tenth of a ticket. The “4 million euros!” That was sung on Wednesday for number 86148 therefore meant the somewhat more modest profit of 400,000 euros for the owners of the winning tickets. Less 20 percent tax.

In the Spanish Christmas lottery you win comparatively little, but with 1 in 100,000 you have a comparatively high chance of winning the main prize. The best thing is that you share the luck of a winner with 1,719 other people. Or more. It is customary to buy tenth tickets together with friends or work colleagues (so that there is no trouble afterwards, each partner signs the back of the ticket). With so many winners, you can hardly help but be happy, even if you don’t get anything yourself.

Most of this year’s winner number 86148 had been sold at a collection point in Madrid’s Atocha train station. This is the train station with the highest number of passengers in Spain. So you can imagine how the lots made their way from there to finally rain down winnings in all corners of the country. The second prize (125,000 euros for the tenth lottery ticket) was not finely divided but very concentrated: The winning number 72119 was completely sold in a collection point in the Basque industrial city of Basauri, where it made entire neighborhoods rich overnight.

Either way, it was the thickest Gordo (“fat one”) in the 200-year history of the Spanish Christmas lottery: Spaniards bought tickets for more than three billion euros in 2021 – 17 percent more than in the previous year. Because 70 percent of the ticket sales are distributed (the rest is kept by the state that operates the lottery), there were also a particularly large number of prizes this year. And if you didn’t win the main prize, you might have the 20 euros “reintegro” – the repayment of the stake. You can use it to buy the ticket for the next lottery, “El Niño”, on January 6th.

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