Spain gripped by ‘El Gordo’ fever


The Spanish Christmas national lottery, known as ‘El Gordo’ will be drawn today, as millions of Spaniards await to see where the jackpot numbers fall.

Spain’s ‘El Gordo’ lottery, which translates as ‘The Fat One’ will see €2.2 billion (£1.7 billion) in total prize money awarded amongst thousands of shared lottery tickets.

Unlike traditional lotteries, where consumers choose their selected numbers, Spain’s Christmas lottery prizes are drawn from a set pre-arranged numbers which can be brought by syndicates, communities and work places meaning that all jackpots prizes are therefore shared.

Unique to Spain, El Gordo has become the world’s most generous lottery, producing a total give away of 15,000 cash prizes with top individual jackpot prizes of €4 million.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo estimates that 75% of Spaniards play El Gordo every Christmas, spending a total of 0.3% of the National GDP.

Costis Motsotakis

The live draw which can take up to four hours will be shown by national broadcaster TVE. School Children sing the winning numbers which are drawn from two golden drums containing 100,000 wooden lottery balls.

The prize draw often sees towns, villages and company staff members will a share of the jackpots.

In 2011 Greek film maker Costis Motsotakis was dubbed Spain’s unluckiest man when he became the only resident of the Village of Sodeto (population 300) not to win a share of the €740 million El Gordo Prize pool.

Motsotakis was the only village resident not to purchase an El Gordo ticket. For the past three years Motsotakis has been filming a documentary on Sodeto and  the 75 farming families who won a share of the €740 million.

Motsotakis commented on his experience “Perhaps not winning was the best thing to ever happen to me .It was like a gift from heaven, as if someone had given me the perfect script,”

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