El Gordo de Navidad 2018 To Give Out €2.38 Billion in Prizes

El Gordo de Navidad 2018 To Give Out €2.38 Billion in Prizes
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Spain is gearing up for the most famous date on its lottery calendar this weekend, with El Gordo de Navidad set to give away more than €2 billion in prize money. Ticket sales close on Friday, with the lavish draw taking place on 22nd December as usual.

Officially known as Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad or Loteria de Navidad, Spain’s Christmas Lottery has been held every year since 1812 and continues to be a popular tradition with players all over the country. The appeal has even gone global in recent years, with fans around the world taking an interest in a game that has such an enormous prize pot.

How El Gordo Works

The game works differently to most other lotteries and is more like a raffle. You buy either a full ticket, known as a ‘billete’, or a tenth of a ticket called a ‘decimo’, and will be given a five-digit number.

All the 100,000 possible number combinations make up one series, but 170 series are being put up for sale this year. This means that 170 billetes will display the same number, and as tickets showing the same number are usually distributed together to local retailers it is common for whole communities to win if their numbers come up. In 2011, everyone in the village of Sodeto won a share of the top prize apart from one man who had not bought a ticket.

When the draw takes place, children from the San Ildefonso School in Madrid pick the winning numbers from one machine (called a bombo) and the associated prize amount from a second machine. They sing the results in a ceremony which lasts for several hours and which is screened on Spanish TV.

El Gordo Prizes

The top prize, known as El Gordo, is worth €4 million per billete. Anyone who buys one billete will therefore win the full €4 million, but as each billete costs €200 it is more common for players to buy decimos or join forces in syndicates. If you purchase one decimo, you will win €400,000 if you match the El Gordo number.

In last year’s draw, the winning El Gordo number was 71198 and included winners from Las Palmas on Gran Canaria, and some from Murcia and Valencia. There are lots of other ways to win prizes, though, even if your ticket matches just the last digit of the winning El Gordo number. Find out more about El Gordo prizes.

Excitement has been building for this year’s draw for some time, partly fuelled by the eagerly-awaited advertising campaign. This year’s commercial is reminiscent of Groundhog Day in the way that a man keeps living the day of the draw over and over again, eventually sharing his lottery win with others.

Fans across Spain are sure to carry on queueing for tickets ahead of the big day on Saturday, and you can keep up to date with all the action on Lotto.net.