El Gordo Navidad
El Gordo Navidad, also known as Sorteo de Navidad or Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad, is a massively popular Spanish lottery game. First held in 1812, this Christmas lottery has captured the hearts of millions of people across Spain and around the world.
The day before the big event, the El Gordo Navidad balls are publicly examined to ensure that they will be up to the task. In recent years, the draw is typically held at 20.00 on 22nd December at the Teatro Real in Madrid on the Plaza de Isabel II. Schoolchildren from CEIP San Ildefonso sing the winning numbers and their related prizes as they are drawn simultaneously from two different machines. Working in shifts, the children continue this process until the draw is finished a few hours later.
How to Play - and Win - El Gordo Navidad
Unlike other lottery games from around the world, El Gordo Navidad works like a raffle. Players don’t choose their own numbers; they buy tickets with pre-printed numbers from 00000 to 99999. There are 160 different series, each of which offers 100,000 tickets. For 2014, each series had €14 million in prizes to distribute among winning tickets. While the total value of the tickets issued might rise above €3 billion, about 70 percent of this is dedicated to prizes - in 2014, the grand total for prizes came to €2.24 billion!
A full ticket, known as a billete, costs €200, but most people buy a share of a ticket with their friends, family or coworkers. A decimo is a tenth of a ticket and costs a very reasonable €20, given the prizes that are on offer. Entire towns and villages have been known to go in on full El Gordo Navidad tickets, netting their residents some amazing amounts of cash in the process.
The nickname “El Gordo” comes from the name for the top prize - “the big one” or “the fat one”. In each series, the first prize is worth a massive €4 million. For example, if you were to buy a decimo that turned out to be part of the top winning ticket, you’d win €400,000. Visit the El Gordo Navidad Prizes page to learn more.
Visit the FAQs page to learn more about this great Christmas lottery.