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El Gordo

El Gordo lottery

El Gordo is perhaps the most famous lottery in the whole of Europe. Once the end of the year rolls around, when it is almost Christmas, Spaniards will line up en masse to purchase tickets for the biggest lottery of the country. For many tv shows and current affairs programmes, this is a great opportunity to discuss and analyse the wonderful phenomenon called El Gordo (literally translated ‘the fat’ or ‘the fat one’). Yet El Gordo is so much more than just this special Christmas lottery, with prize money adding up to several billions of euros. Each week, you get to take part in the Sunday draw as well, which is officially called El Gordo de la Primitiva. With a minimum jackpot of 5 million euros, there are plenty of great prizes to be won here, too.

A long tradition of Spanish lotteries

Spain has an impressive history when it comes to big lotteries. King Charles III already took the initiative of organising an actual royal lottery back in 1763. Some decades later, in 1812, the first official national lottery followed. Less than 200 years later, the time had come to add a new lottery to the Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (or, the Spanish state lotteries). And this was El Gordo de la Primitiva.

The first draw took place in 1993. In its early days, the number of draws was still very limited. As it was, players only had a shot at winning the great jackpot of El Gordo on the last Sunday of the month. Yet taking part in lotteries is a part of the Spanish national identity. Therefore, it did not take long before the number of draws was extended. Since the fall of 1997, the organisation switches on its lotto machine every Sunday.

The Christmas lottery El Gordo versus the Sunday lottery El Gordo

The Spaniards are known for their close-knit family ties. Especially in the smaller villages, entire families can be spotted dining together into the late night. And it is definitely not just the food that Spaniards love to share. They also enjoy sharing their hopes for a (literally) richer life with the people around them. So, around Christmas time, many Spaniards will team up with their neighbours or family to purchase tickets for El Gordo. Everyone takes part using the same ticket number, making the excitement that much greater if it happens to win the lottery. And the jackpot is pretty well stocked. Even when having to split the prize, each winner might just gain tons and tons of euros.

This popular Christmas lottery is probably the first thing that comes to mind when hearing the name El Gordo. Although you should definitely not confuse this lottery with the Sunday lottery El Gordo. There are a number of important differences, of which the prize money is most likely the first to draw your attention. Because although the Sunday lottery hands out some decent cash prizes, this El Gordo cannot hold a candle to the astronomical prizes adding up to about 2.5 billion euros that the Christmas lottery is known for. Yet there are more points of differentiation between the Christmas lottery and the Sunday lottery:

– The Christmas lottery El Gordo is organised once per year, while the Sunday lottery takes place every week.

– For the Sunday lottery, you can decide for yourself what numbers you want to play with, so that there are (fairly) unique lottery ticket numbers. The Christmas lottery, on the other hand, distributes anywhere between 160 and 200 copies of one and the same lottery ticket number every year. Thus, you always have to share the big prize with a large group of people.

– Both lotteries operate using a lottery machine and balls. Yet the games are vastly different. For instance, you have to select your own numbers for the Sunday lottery, whereas the Christmas lottery works with a fixed lottery ticket number that consists of 5 numbers.

– The Christmas lottery is a lot older than El Gordo de la Primitiva. For comparison: with its first draw on December 18, 1812, this is the oldest lottery played in Spain.

This is how you take part in the weekly Sunday draw

A lottery ticket for El Gordo de la Primitiva consists of two different parts. The same system is used as for big lotteries like EuroMillions and the US Powerball. The first grid consists of 54 numbers (1 to 54), that you get to select 5 from. It might already be quite a task to compile a number sequence that you feel comfortable with. Yet this is not all. Because a second grid of numbers is waiting for you as well. It consists of 10 numbers, of which – surprisingly enough – the 0 has been added to the grid. This is quite unusual for a lottery ticket, but who knows, this number might just be the one resulting in a winning combination. Although you only have to select one number in the second grid (0 to 9), you will sorely need this number if you want to win the jackpot.

Have a shot at winning the jackpot of El Gordo

For the Spanish El Gordo, the jackpot will start at a fixed amount of 5 million euros. Have you not won the jackpot? Then you obviously hope that other players will not have the winning combo on their ticket either. After each draw, the jackpot will increase. As such, back in 2011, a winner already took off with a record amount of 33 million euros. Your odds of doing the same are about 32 million to 1. Therefore, you have got to be really lucky to end up being the grand winner. But owing to the 9 different prize categories, you still have a pretty good shot at winning one of the other cash prizes.

Will you purchase a lottery ticket for the Spanish El Gordo?

El Gordo is one of the most popular lotteries of Spain. And by this, we are not just referring to the Christmas lottery. As it is, a huge number of lottery tickets are sold each week for the Sunday lottery. Foreign lottery enthusiasts often get somewhat confused by the mention of El Gordo. They associate this lottery with the 2.5 billion that is handed out around Christmas time. Therefore, always keep in mind that there are two Spanish lotteries that use the name El Gordo. The jackpot of the Sunday lottery is significantly lower, yet the advantage is that you do not have to wait an entire year for the next draw. This is a stark contrast to the Christmas lottery. El Gordo de la Primitiva really is an interesting lottery, that many Spaniards take part in for a good reason.

Those who want to take part in the Spanish El Gordo lottery and, in doing so, have a shot at amazing cash prizes, can do so by simply purchasing tickets on sites like Lottosend and TheLotter. These websites serve as intermediaries and provide you with an opportunity to simply buy official lottery tickets online. After that, the intermediary buys your personal lottery ticket or tickets on your behalf at an official retailer. Then, the purchased lottery tickets are scanned in a transparant manner and become visible in your account on the website in no time. We’d like to wish those who take part in El Gordo a lot of success and fun!

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Spanish El Gordo de Navidad

El Gordo de Navidad is one of the largest and richest lotteries in the world with a prize pool in excess of €2 billion. The lottery, officially known as Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad or Loteria de Navidad, began in 1812 and has become an annual Spanish tradition.

Latest Result

This shows the latest 2020 result for El Gordo de Navidad

The draw process involves one ball being selected from each machine simultaneously and continues until the prize bombo is empty. The process takes hours to complete and has become a significant cultural event in Spain’s annual calendar. To add to the atmosphere and excitement, children from the San Ildefonso School in Madrid select the balls and sing the results.

Buy Tickets

The draws, which are held in Madrid on 22nd December every year and considered a national event, differ from standard lotteries in two important aspects. Unlike other lotteries, whose draws are generally brief and completed with relatively little fanfare, El Gordo de Navidad draws take hours to complete due to the sheer number of prizes and the format is closer to a raffle than a standard lottery.

The balls are drawn from two machines, called ‘bombos’, which each hold thousands of balls. One bombo contains balls inscribed with a pre-determined number combination, while the other bombo contains balls inscribed with a prize value. Each pre-determined number is printed on numerous tickets so, when a prize is selected to correspond with the number drawn, the prize fund for that tier will be shared between all of the players whose ticket matches the number drawn.

How to Play

Tickets for El Gordo de Navidad are unlike those in other world lotteries. Instead of buying a single ticket, Navidad tickets are sold as either a full ticket, known as a ‘billete’, or a tenth of a ticket known as a ‘decimo’. Rather like a raffle, players buy pre-printed billetes, and each number can be sold as many as 180 times in what is known as a ‘series’, meaning there will be multiple billetes displaying the same number.

Prize Breakdown

The prize tiers below are per billete:

Prize Tier Prizes Available* Prize per Billete†
First Prize “El Gordo” 1 €4,000,000
Second Prize 1 €1,250,000
Third Prize 1 €500,000
Fourth Prize 2 €200,000
Fifth Prize 8 €60,000

*The number of prizes is calculated by multiplying the winning combinations drawn by the number of billetes in the series. For example, there would be 180 x €4,000,000 “El Gordo” prizes if the number of billetes in the series was 180.

†As the prize amount is per billete, the prize value is divided by the number of players participating on a billette. For example, if 10 players each had a ‘decimo’, they would receive 1/10 of the billet prize amount.

The table above shows the top 5 prize tiers but the ‘pedrea’, or ‘shower of prizes’, includes hundreds of further prizes drawn throughout the day.

El Gordo de Navidad draws frequently include a ‘variation’ which gives players additional prizes for matching the variation chosen. For example, the variation for the 2012 draw entitled the holder of any ticket number ending in 8 to claim a prize.

Other El Gordo Draws

In addition to El Gordo de Navidad, there are two further special draws which take place every year – Sorteo del Nino which is held on 6th January and the San Ildefonso draw which is held on 5th July. El Gordo de la Primitiva is a regular draw which takes place every Thursday and Saturday and offers a starting jackpot of €4 million.

Play the Spanish El Gordo de Navidad lottery for your chance to win a share of the biggest Christmas lottery prize available.