Lottery again favours Roquetas

Just days after the El Gordo went to Roquetas del Mar (452 million euros…), the El Niño lottery has also favoured the town – two tickets of first prize 22654 were sold in the town, worth 200,000 euros apiece.

El Mundo says one man bought both tickets, and that he had earlier won on El Gordo, so that’s a nice Christmas for him.

It’s small beans compared to the El Gordo win.

The first prize in December’s El Gordo lottery was entirely sold in Roquetas del Mar and Laujar. The total first prize was worth 452 million euros, split amongst everyone who held ticket number 79,140. In all, the holder of every decimo (tenth) of that ticket won 400,000 euros.

Six out of the thirteen top prizes were fully or partially sold in the province. The total in prize money topped 666 million euros.

Many of the tickets were sold by school children at Laujar secondary school, who had been fund raising for their annual school trip. This is an annual Spanish tradition, where children sell the twenty euro lottery tickets with a two euro “tip” for their fund.

The rest of the 160 decimos were sold at lottery stand number 2 in Roquetas del Mar.

Winners must temper their delight with the thought that 20% of their win will be taxed – they will have to pay €66,250 tax on each first prize decimo.

The annual El Gordo (the fat one) Christmas lottery is the largest in the world by prize fund. Each ticket number is divided into series, with each series then being divided into 10 decimos costing €20 each.

The children of San Ildefonso school sing the numbers aloud as they are drawn, a ceremony which is broadcast live across the nation.

The lottery was originally established in 1812 to raise funds to help pay for the Peninsular War against Napoleon, and has been held annually since then.

In a town where one in five is unemployed and where almost half the residents are immigrants, this money has changed the lives of many families.

No fewer than 35 African immigrants are celebrating their win. Many of them had reached Spain in pateras looking for work, and often do not have bank accounts or any experience of dealing with such sums.

Local social services have been working with immigrant associations to ensure their money is secure. Mario, one of the winners, said he hadn’t worked for a month and was “living hand to mouth before the win”. The lottery organisers have sent an advisor to help with the opening of bank accounts, and to give impartial financial advice.

Secondary school students in neighbouring Laujar and Bayárcal had been selling the winning lottery tickets in order raise funds for their school trip. Friends and family in this tight knit community all enjoyed windfalls before Christmas.

Francisco, a gardener who works for the council, bought two tickets, winning eight hundred thousand euros before tax. “I’ve already told the Mayor that as soon as he finds a replacement I’m taking early retirement” he said.

Bayárcal has seen so many families emigrate in recent years that in 2014 the council gave away four free homes to entice new blood to the village. Two of these families are winners. Mayor Jacinto said that they had won two lotteries in the past year, “one in being accepted to come here, and now this”.

The real hero is the school’s geography teacher, David Ortiz, who was in charge of buying the tickets. “I told everyone they were lucky” he joked. “We bought 800 tickets of the same number and only had to return 16”.

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