It’s Spains biggest ever Christmas lottery, with a top prize of 400,000€ for each individual ticket of the winning number, and it’s being drawn today. It’s being called the gordo to end all Gordo’s, with a larger prize pot than ever before.
Listen out for the piping calls of the kids from the San Ildelfonso orphanage as they earn their yearly crumb by singing out the winning numbers and the corresponding prizes all morning long, broadcast from every TV and radio in the land.
And also watch out for swerving cars as the drivers suddenly hear a number that is like theirs and pull out their wallet to check their numbers.
Despite only having a 15% chance of winning, the total amount spent this year on the lottery works out to be 58€ per head. Put another way, every Spaniard in the world has spent 58€ on the lottery. According to Loterias del estado, you have an 85% chance of losing, a 10% chance of recouping the price of your ticket and just a 5,3% chance of actually making any money.
Tickets aren’t cheap – they cost 20€ each, and are often sold by peñas, or local clubs, who add a couple of euros on top for their own fundraising efforts.
The numbering system on the tickets is fiendishly complicated. There are 180 series, which are each split into 100,000 tickets each, with a face number of between 1 and 99,000. So, despite the top prize being four million euros, if you have the winning lottery ticket you still have to share that prize with everyone else who has that ticket number – so you win just 400,000€ (per ticket).
The numbers are dropped from one large glittering ball, and called out by a piping youth (¡¡cuarenta y nueve mil, doscientos cuarenta y sieeeeeete!!) and then a second glittering ball drops out the actual prize (¡cuatro milliones de eeeeeuroooos!). Then, the cava is popped, people celebrate, you get on TV and the chap who sold you the ticket probably makes more money than you did, by being guaranteed to sell thousands of tickets next year as other fortune seekers flock to him over the course of 2012 to buy from the “lucky lottery man”.
Check your ticket number here: