Spain for lottery fever: Everyone is hoping for “El Gordo”

Status: 22.12.2021 10:28 a.m.

Shortly before Christmas Eve, Spain is back in the lottery frenzy: It is about winnings totaling 2.4 billion euros. Everyone is hoping for the main prize: “El Gordo”, the “fat one.” But the ticket sellers could dampen the mood a little.

By Oliver Neuroth, ARD Studio Madrid

Anyone who wants to buy tickets for the Christmas lottery in Spain can do so anywhere in the country. Even in small towns there are sales outlets of the state lottery company. The chance of getting the ticket number for the main prize is mathematically the same everywhere: 1 in 100,000. Nevertheless, many Spaniards want to help their luck and buy the tickets, for example, in a place called “Glück”: Sort in Catalonia.

Oliver Neuroth
ARD-Studio Madrid

Bring good luck

“We came here specially from Barcelona, ​​a three-hour drive. Just to buy the tickets here,” says Jesus, who firmly believes in bringing particularly good luck from Sort. Like hundreds of others: The line in front of the lottery ticket in the Pyrenees town is long in the weeks before the draw. After half an hour Manolo comes out of the store with a bundle of 43 tenths in hand.

“They are for friends, for my brother-in-law, for the cousin, for the whole family. I left 860 euros here, part paid in cash and part paid by card. I hope everyone will give me the money back. Otherwise I’ll keep them Lose and get filthy rich, “says Manolo.

Many Spaniards travel to Sort to buy lottery tickets.

Image: Oliver Neujroth

70 percent of Spaniards play along

The Spanish Christmas lottery is always a mega-event. This year around 70 percent of Spaniards are playing, and each of them has spent an average of 66 euros on tickets. Most buy tenths of a ticket for 20 euros. If luck is on your side, you will get a tenth of the profit – for the main prize “El Gordo” that is 400,000 euros.

And so the whole country is excited again today when the lottery draw is broadcast live on television and on the Internet. Two students traditionally sing the drawn ticket numbers and the associated winnings.

Long queues in Sort in front of a lottery shop: everyone wants to get hold of a ticket.

Image: Oliver Neujroth

Lot number 19921 has been sold out for days

The state lottery company has to pay out the main prize 172 times, this is the number of times each ticket number is sold. Some Spaniards are looking for very specific numbers and rummage through sales outlets to get exactly these: This year, for example, 19921. It is the date on which the volcano erupted on the Canary Island of La Palma, September 19th 21. This lot number has been sold out across Spain for days.

Tickets for the Spanish Christmas lottery “El Gordo”: Some players had
target very specific lots.

Image: dpa

Prize payout before Christmas wobbles

Whoever is one of the winners of today’s draw, however, could have problems getting their prize. Because the ticket sellers want to strike today and for the next two days, says their spokesman Joaquin Monroy: “The sales outlets will not pay out any winnings. It will be like a bus drivers’ strike: then there will be no buses, passengers will have to wait a few days. This also applies to the lottery players. They have three months to collect their winnings. “

Conflict over commission for ticket sellers

The labor dispute is about the commissions of the lot sellers. The Spanish state lottery company has not raised it for 17 years, and the sellers no longer want to accept that. Today they are protesting outside the Teatro Real, Madrid’s opera house, where the draw is taking place. And could spoil the pre-Christmas fun for one or the other lottery player – at least for those who want to hold their winnings in their hands on the holidays.

Spain draws the big lot: Christmas lottery pays out 2.4 billion

Oliver Neuroth, ARD Madrid, December 22nd, 2021 10:41 am

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