Families playing $2.7B Spanish Christmas Lottery hope to get fat on El Gordo prize
iStock/Thinkstock(MADRID) — In Spain, the lottery may be more about family than fate.
Camila Fuentes, a business owner from Madrid, said it’s a tradition for family members to chip in for a ticket in the world’s largest lottery, the Spanish Christmas Lottery, whose top prize –- El Gordo, or the Fat One -– has been awarded for more than 200 years.
In all, about €2.3 billion –- 70 percent of the betting pool –- will be distributed as winnings in Friday’s drawing, with a top prize of €4 million. The total translates to about $2.72 billion in U.S. money.
“I would not buy a ticket by myself,” Fuentes told ABC News. “I want to gather with my beloved ones and having fun watching the TV. It’s not about being selfish this time.”
The Christmas lottery was established in 1812 to raise funds for charity by King Carlos III of Naples. The lottery has been conducted every year since, including the era of Francisco Franco’s fascist regime.
“There is something mythical about that,” Fuentes said. “My family and I, if we don’t buy our ticket we think it’s bad luck for the rest of the year.”
Tickets for El Gordo, as the lottery is commonly called, cost €200, but it has become tradition for many to invest in a ticket with family or friends. Ramon Sanchez, 52, said his family members each contribute €5 toward a full ticket.
“I have family in Asturias in the north of Spain, and my uncle every year is in charge of buying a full [ticket],” Sanchez said. “We want him to purchase the ticket in this specific village and bookstore as it’s called Suerte [Luck]. This year he already sent a message to say he got it.”
It’s also possible for an individual to buy a 10 percent share of a ticket for €20.
According to the Spanish state lottery, 75 percent of Spanish people participate in the annual institution.
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