September 27, 2021



Things are done a little differently in Spain! They have festivals where brave (or mad) thrill-seekers try to outrun rampaging bulls rush through the narrow streets of Pamplona, costumed townspeople jump over babies to ward off evil spirits and illness near Burgos, it is also home to the world’s biggest tomato fight near Valencia.



These events and many more do make Spain a great place for tourists and it is the reason so many visitors flock to the country annually. However these unique celebrations and festivals are not the only thing the Spanish do differently, they also have an unusual take on the Lottery. Sure they have the normal National Lottery Draws as well as daily and Sunday draws, they even partake in the EuroMillions lottery. But they also have three big lottery draws each year, them being elGordo (“the big one”), elNino and a Summer elGordo.



Sheet of tickets

A tenth of a ticket ‘participation’

The tickets for these draws are more like raffle tickets than   lottery tickets as each ticket has a 5-digit number.


There are 100,000 unique ticket numbers, however, as more   than 100,000 tickets are sold numbers are duplicated a   maximum number of times and this is recorded by series   number. The amount of series’ issued from year to year can  differ.


An example from Wikipedia shows that in 2015, there were 180 series of 100,000 tickets each, giving a total of 18,000,000 tickets available at a cost of €200 each. That’s €3.6 billion worth of tickets that were sold, making the prizes worth €2.52 billion (70% of ticket sales).


Due to the cost of these tickets, it is common to purchase a portion of a ticket in the form of a ‘participation’ which is similar to the way a syndicate works. Where a ‘participation’ will receive a percentage of the prize that their number is allocated should it be drawn.



The next one up is the Summer elGordo, the draw takes place on Saturday 1st July 2017 with 140,000,000 € worth of prizes to be won.


Following that is the elGordo, the Spanish Christmas Lottery, which has been drawn every year since 1812 making it the second longest continuously running lottery in the world and according to Wikipedia, the draws even took place during the years of the Civil War.


The elGordo draw takes place on the 22nd of December every year, tickets for this draw start to become available from early July.


The following draw is elNino, a New Year draw which takes place on 6th January tickets for this draw will start to become available from mid-October.



THE DRAW:Each of the 100,000 ticket numbers appears on a wooden ball, and 1 ball is drawn for the first prize, 1 for the second prize and 1 for third. 2 balls are drawn for the fourth prize, 8 balls for the fifth and 1794 balls are drawn for smaller prizes.


THE ODDS:The odds of evening out the cost of a big lottery ticket are of 10%, which can be done by matching the last digit of a first prize ticket. Chances of higher winnings are approximately 5.3%.


The prize structures of these big lottery’s make it easier to win when compared to other lotteries.


While the chances of winning a first prize in elGordo, elNino or Summer elGordo are 1 in 100,000 (0.001%), the chances of winning the top prize in EuroMillions are 1 in 116,531,800 (0.0000000086%). It is true that most of the funds raised by these big lottery’s and the majority of the prize money is distributed amongst the people of Spain. Most people are happy to only play these big lottery’s and not partake in the smaller ones and others play only the weekly lottery’s.


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