El Gordo

El Gordo India ImageEvery year around Christmas, Spain sees a hike in the excitement of its people. This excitement is partly due to the festive season. Yet, it is largely because of Spain’s extravagant lottery, the El Gordo de Navidad. The El Gordo is the world’s richest lottery and is hence the cause of the erratic excitement in the Spaniards.

In 2018, the prize money reached a whopping total of €2.38 billion - That's 36,126,193,549,600 Rupees!! The first prize being €680 million, known as the El Gordo was shared among all the winners. Second prize winners were awarded €125,000 per decimo and the third prize was €50,000.

Two winners were awarded the fourth prize, each receiving €20,000 per decimo. Further, eight fifth place prizes are given out, amounting €6,000 per decimo. A total of 1794 prizes of €100 are given out per decimo, as well.

Origin of the El Gordo lottery

This lottery is the second oldest lottery in the world. El Gordo was a Spanish institution and a lottery, as well. The first-ever Christmas lottery took place in Cádiz on 22nd December in the year 1812. The lottery has taken place on the same day since that year. 

Where to get the tickets from?

El Gordo is a large-scale lottery that has over 75% of Spain’s population participating. Almost everyone in Spain participates in this lottery. Either by buying a ticket for themselves by buying a share of the ticket.

Due to a large number of participants, the procedure of ticket buying is more complicated. Unlike most other lotteries, people cannot buy tickets from a newsagent in their neighborhood.

Tickets bought are from lottery shops, and certain numbers are assigned to each shop. This is the reason why the winners of the lottery are often people who bought tickets from the same shop. In case you wish to play your lucky numbers, you might have to travel long distances to find your number.

You can get your tickets from lottery shops or even social clubs and certain restaurants. Lottery tickets are also available online. You can buy tickets till the 21st December before 11:45 pm.

What happens on the night of 22nd December?

On the night of 22nd December, lottery ticket holders huddle around their televisions. They wait in anticipation for the announcement of the winning numbers. The balls are drawn, and the students of Madrid's San Ildefonso school sing out the numbers.
The stage is equipped with two spherical vessels. One of them contains balls bearing the winning numbers. The other one is accepting the prize money in euros associated with the winning number. For instance, the students may sing, "Ball number 31.45 gets €100".

The winnings and tax levied on it

Usually, the winners of the lottery are from the same location. The prize is shared among all the ticket shareholders and the winners.

The Spanish government began taxing the lottery prize winnings in the year 2013. Taxes of up to 20% are imposed on the prize money. The first €10,000 of the top winner is tax-free in Spain while a 20% tax is levied on the rest of the sum.