Thursday, 22 December 2011

El Gordo..... The Fat One

The Christmas Lottery

Every December 22nd,  all over Spain,  people never stray far from a TV or radio,  as the Christmas lottery is played out. 

Everybody in Spain buys tickets for this lottery in the hope of winning and the winning number usually means that a good number of people from the same village become a lot better off overnight.

The Spanish Christmas lottery, El Gordo or 'The Fat One', is the biggest lottery in the world and also one of the oldest, having started in 1812.
While the first prize in 2005 was only 3€ million, El Gordo now has the biggest prize pool of any lottery in the world, this year totaling over two and a half billion euros!

Ticket play numbers range from 00,000 to 84,999. There are 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes, as well as over one thousand smaller prizes.
Players also win prizes for partially matching the top three winning numbers.
There are 2 huge spheres, one holds wooden balls with the 5 digit numbers on and the other holds balls with the prize amounts.

 The draw takes place with 2 children, each next to one of the spheres.                                                                                     
 One child picks the ball with the prize amount number, while the other child picks the ball with the play number.
They then take the balls over to a table to the official lotto observers loudly singing out the numbers as they go,  and the members of the lottery commission take note of the winning number and corresponding prize.
 The balls are then placed in a type of rack for the records.
This is repeated for hours, with the people watching and waiting for the "Gordo" to appear, until all the prizes are given out and the spheres are empty.

¡ Buen Suerte!