El Gordo: Spain to draw winners in world's largest lottery today

This year's draw has total prize fund of £2.3bn

Rachel Roberts
Thursday 21 December 2017 19:25 GMT
The draw has taken place every year since 1812
The draw has taken place every year since 1812 (AP)

Spain will today draw winners in the world’s biggest lottery, known as El Gordo (“the fat one”), which is open to entrants from any country.

While other lotteries have far larger individual prizes, El Gordo is the undisputed largest in the world in terms of the total prize money on offer.

This year’s draw has a top prize for winning tickets of £355,000 (400,000 euros) but the total fund of 2.3bn euros is the largest anywhere in the world.

The hugely popular draw first took place in 1812 and has been held on 22 December every year since, even continuing through the Spanish Civil War and both World Wars.

Standard tickets cost 20 euros and people traditionally pool resources and buy shares in multiple tickets with friends, family or workmates.

The cost of a whole ticket is a whopping 200 euros, meaning that many people will purchase just a tenth of a ticket for 20 euros, with the televised draw proving a popular social occasion.

Governed by a complex set of rules, 70 per cent of the money people have spent on tickets will be distributed as prizes, with the rest kept by the state and official ticket sales points, the Daily Telegraph reported.

An estimated 75 per cent of Spanish adults play the Christmas lottery, with the state company which runs it calculating that Spaniards spend an average of 55 euros on tickets annually.

The draw takes place in Madrid’s Teatro Real opera house and lasts around three hours, as the winning numbers are sung out by schoolchildren in a popular tradition.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in