Millions of Spaniards sit in front of the television on Wednesday morning for the announcement of the prize winners of the traditional Christmas lottery with a prize pool of more than 2.4 billion euros. More than three quarters of Spaniards participate in the lottery, called ‘El Gordo’ or ‘The Fat One’.
The lottery, which has been held since 1812, is considered the oldest and largest in the world. The prize winners are announced during a ceremony that lasts three to four hours, because many smaller prizes are also raffled. The songs are recited by students of the Madrid boarding school San Ildefonso.
The Spanish government benefits greatly from the lottery, because it levies a 20 percent gambling tax on the prize money.
The lots cost 200 euros each and that is why they are usually purchased by groups of people, with colleagues, through a neighbourhood, a street or in a club. People can also buy a tenth ticket and win 10 percent of the prize.
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