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Spanish Christmas Lottery - How Is the Jackpot Divided?

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Question: Spanish Christmas Lottery - How Is the Jackpot Divided?
The Spanish Christmas Lottery, also known as 'El Gordo' or 'The Fat One', is the world's biggest lottery. Find out how it works here. The Spanish Christmas Lottery, known as 'El Gordo', or 'The Fat One', is the biggest lottery in the world. Find out how it is drawn.
Answer: The Spanish Christmas Lottery works differently to most lotteries in the world. A whole ticket billete is very expensive, costing 200€ in 2005. However, these tickets are split up into ten decimos (tenths) costing 20€ each. When buying your tickets you have the choice of buying a single decimo, a whole ticket, or a fraction of your choice. If you don't buy the whole ticket, someone else will buy the rest of your ticket.

This unique decimos system means there are a number ways you can play El Gordo. Read more: Ways to Play El Gordo.

Example of a Spanish Lottery Ticket May be Won

  • You buy two decimos.
  • Person A buys three decimos.
  • Person B buys five decimos.
Your ticket wins 1,000€.
  • You win 200€.
  • Person A win 300€.
  • Person B win 500€.

Got that? Good.

It is common for a group of people to buy a whole ticket (ten decimos) together. This group could be a family, some work colleagues or even the regulars at a local bar. In this way El Gordo becomes a social event as people 'play together' under the same ticket. In some bars you may see in the window "Jugamos con el numero..." ("We're playing with number...") to indicate that they are playing El Gordo this year and as an invitation to join in the fun.

As the wealth is often spread out among a group of people rather than a single person, a win in a small community can have a profound effect on the local economy.

The word the Spanish use for winning the lottery is 'touch' ('tocar') so they may say "Esperamos que toce aquí" ("We hope it touches here").

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