Spanish El Gordo de Navidad
How to play
El Gordo translates as ‘the big one’ and refers to the coveted first prize, but is also frequently used to describe the game in general. It is played on 22nd December each year and is a raffle rather than a traditional lottery draw. Players purchase pre-printed tickets bearing five-digit codes. While players can buy a full ticket, known as a billete, for €200, they can also choose to buy one-tenth of a ticket, called a décimo, for €20.
El Gordo Prizes
|Prize Tier||Total Prizes||Prize per Billete*|
|El Gordo - First Prize||1||€4,000,000|
*A billete is a full ticket containing ten décimos.
The prize value per person is determined by how many players have contributed to each billete. For example, if one player had bought a whole billete that won the first prize (El Gordo), they would win €4 million, whereas if ten players had a décimo each with the same winning code, they would each receive €400,000.
Each raffle number is printed more than a hundred times in what are known as series. Each billete that bears the same code wins the stated prize, which means that more than a hundred jackpot prizes of €4 million are won on the night.
Further prizes are also awarded in la Pedrea (“the avalanche of pebbles”). In total, 70 percent of the money generated from ticket sales is paid back out in prizes, and in 2015 there were 15,304 ways to win.
This shows the latest 2018 result for El Gordo de Navidad
You can play El Gordo by buying tickets from authorised retail stores throughout Spain, but players from abroad can also join in on the festive fun by playing online.
The first El Gordo de Navidad draw was held in 1812 and forms a large part of Christmas celebrations in Spain. Today, it is famous for its staggering prize fund, which typically exceeds €2 billion.
The whole El Gordo draw is shown live on TV as pupils from the San Ildefonso School sing the results to accompany the drawing of each ball in a ceremony that can last for several hours. The winning numbers are drawn from one machine at the same time as another ball is drawn from the second machine to determine the prize amount.
The format also resembles a raffle more than a lottery, as two machines are used to draw both the winning numbers and the associated prize values. It is incredibly popular because there are over 15,000 ways to win, and players often join together to buy tickets. It is not uncommon to see several players across a neighbourhood, or even a village, win the top prize on El Gordo de Navidad, as one or two local shops might only sell a few sets of serial numbers. It is estimated that most of the adult population in Spain, perhaps more than 90 percent, have at least a décimo at stake in the El Gordo draw.