El Gordo Delivers £1.6 Billion
Last Updated: Monday 31st December 2007, 10:38 am
The El Gordo lottery draw awarded £1.6 billion in prizes on 22 December, 2007. Residents of a small town called Nava near the northern coast of Spain did particularly well, scooping £195 million. They achieved this because the local population of 2,300 had purchased 89 of the 185 tickets that shared the top prize, making each ticket worth £2.16 million. It was reported that celebrations here were extremely well lubricated, with all fifteen public houses in Nava running out of champagne within a matter of hours.
Betting is very popular in Spain, and El Gordo is always the biggest betting event of the year. Sales of tickets for the 2007 draw brought in €2.87 billion – a figure that it 5.7% higher than that for 2006 – and although the vast majority of tickets were purchased by Spanish players, a healthy minority were purchased by overseas players who wanted some of the action.
El Gordo, which means “Fat One”, started in 1812. Tickets are individually numbered and sold in tenths, so it is necessary for players to buy a complete strip of tenths if they want to receive the full value of any prize won, otherwise they simply win a proportion of the prize. The draw itself uses two large spheres to house the numbered balls, and the selection of winning numbers takes around three hours due to the huge number of tickets that are involved.
The 2007 draw boasted 13,334 prizes, all of which are paid in full and are exempt from income tax. The top prize was won by ticket number 06381, with numbers 55469 and 29914 winning the second and third prize respectively. Overall, El Gordo players had a 1 in 3 chance of winning any prize.
For players who weren’t lucky enough to win a prize from the 2007 El Gordo draw, they can try to do better on 6 January, 2008, with another big Spanish lottery called El Nino. This offers €770,000,000 in prizes and gives players a 1 in 3 chance of winning something. Whether the residents of Nava will be just as lucky playing El Nino as they were when playing El Gordo remains to be seen...