Today could be the day several Spaniards receive huge Christmas bonuses. The highly-anticipated El Gordo de Navidad Christmas lottery is underway, with over €2 billion (US$2.15 billion) in cash to be awarded.
Today, in a way, marks the beginning of Christmas in Spain. The annual Christmas lottery draw, which began in 1812, is always a national affair, with almost the entire country coming to a halt to follow the selection of the numbers. The process takes most of the day because of the various levels of prizes.
As usual, the Christmas Gordo top prize is the most sought-after since €4 million (US$4.25 million) is distributed for the series. This means €400,000 (US$425,240) for each winning fraction (each fraction is one-tenth of the series).
No Big Winners So Far
The draw takes place at Madrid’s Royal Theater. It will distribute €2.52 billion (US$2.68 billion) in prizes among the 172 million fractions (or tenths) that are available. There are 180 total series of 100,000 tickets each, with each of those offering 10 tenths.
After the top Gordo, the second tier of prizes will award €125,000 (US$132,887) per tenth. Next, the third has €50,000 (US$53,155) prizes available. The fourth level awards €20,000 (US$21,262) per ticket, and the fifth level will gift €6,000 (US$6,378.60) to the winners.
If no one hits the bigger prizes, there are always smaller ones to look forward to. These include 1,794 prizes of €100 (US$106.31) for each fraction. Winners of all prizes under €2,000 (US$2,126) can have their money deposited immediately into their bank accounts.
In addition, as was the case the past two years, all prizes under €40,000 (US$42,525) don’t have to give up anything to the tax man. This is different than most lottery winnings in the country, which have to pay 20%. The same applies to all winnings above €40,000 in El Gordo, although the first €40K is tax-free.
It’s too late for anyone to buy El Gordo tickets now, but the draw is an international affair. The operator of the draw, The World Lottery, offers tickets for sale on its website.
Although lottery players may have missed their opportunity, there’s another one right around the corner. The El Niño lottery draw will be on January 6, and offers €700 million (US$744.17 million) in prizes. These, too, can be purchased online from anywhere.
EuroMillions Delivers Christmas Early
This is a good week for Spanish lottery players. This past Tuesday, the EuroMillions draw had a top prize of €51 million (US$54.218 million), which a single ticket in Spain won. To win, a player has to hit all five numbers and the two lucky stars.
In addition, according to the EuroMillions website, seven players matched the right five numbers, as well as one star. Each of these – three of whom reside in the UK – received payouts of €81,968 (US$87,140). Nine players took home €14,900 (US$15,840) for matching the five numbers.
Nine countries offer the EuroMillions draw, but France and UK put a twist to it. France’s Étoile+ option allows the player to throw in an additional €1 (US$1.06) to boost the potential prize, albeit by a small amount (typically between €1 and €1,000).
The UK offers the millionaire maker add-on, which has had a lot of success. It found a winner this past Tuesday, as well, turning someone into an instant millionaire.
Friday’s EuroMillions draw has an estimated top prize of €17 million (US$18.07 million).
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