It’s Christmas: The Spanish El Gordo Lottery Is Here

Shops and other outlets in Spain are seeing massive queues right about now for tickets to an unusual lottery. Recent visitors to Spain or those Brits who retired to Spain may be wondering what all the fuss is about. It’s that time of year again – El Gordo lottery (the fat one) tickets are on sale now. With a high chance of winning something, it’s no wonder it remains Spain’s most popular lottery. Long queues outside of shops that sell them are the norm. Statistics reveal that the average player will spend just under 64 per person. But why? And why is it so popular?

Barcelona, like so many other cities, are in the grip of El Gordo lottery fever once again

About the El Gordo Lottery

Spain is proud of the El Gordo lottery – the second oldest lottery in the world. The first recorded draw took place on 22nd December in 1812. It has been on the same date (22nd) ever since that first fateful draw. It even survived the Civil War years. Confusion amongst first time players is typical, but this is easily forgiven. Unlike EuroMillions, you don’t choose your numbers. Instead, each ticket has an identifying number. As shops are sent batches in sequence, big winners are nearly always geographically close together. Players seeking certain numbers need to travel or buy online.

The El Gordo lottery has one of the best chances of winning of any lottery at an impressive 1 in 6. However, should you win a big prize, you will share it with 164 other people. Why so many? Ticket numbers are not unique – each ticket has 164 other copies. That’s not all. It’s common for players to spend big on tickets and then sell a “share” of the ticket. The big prize could potentially divided between 500 or more people. Most tickets are sold on this syndicate basis. One thing is for sure, the El Gordo lottery is a lottery like no other.

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