El Gordo Navidad
The Spanish Christmas Lottery, El Gordo Navidad, also known as the Loteria de Navidad, is one of the oldest Spanish lotteries which occurs every year during the Christmas season.
The first draw occurred in December 1812 in the city of Cadiz and it's considered the world's biggest lottery with €2.3 billion in prizes and attractive winning odds starting at 1:7 for a prize. In 1814 the Christmas El Gordo draw was held for the first time in Madrid and since then it's become the centre for Spanish National Lottery draws.
Every December at the Loteria Nacional Hall of Madrid students from the San Ildefonso School draw the results and sing them aloud to the public. This special way of drawing the Spanish Christmas Lottery numbers makes it even more unique and extraordinary, bringing the Christmas spirit even during the draw.
The raffle El Gordo Navidad draw lasts about three hours while two spherical drums are used to pull the winning numbers. 100,000 wooden balls are printed with different 5-digit ticket codes ranging from 00000-99999 placed in the larger drum while each ticket is printed in 165 copies and divided into 10 shares called ‘décimos’ which can be purchased individually. The smaller drum contains 1,807 balls, each representing variations of the available prizes on it. Students select a single ball from each drum simultaneously to match each prize with one of the 100,000 ticket numbers.
The highest prize available in the Christmas El Gordo raffle draw is €4 million, with an impressive 1:100,000 chances of winning this top prize. Christmas El Gordo tickets go on sale up to half a year before the special draw while the distribution of prizes, quantity of tickets and shares, and their prices may vary from year to year. The draw starts at 9am local time on the morning of December 22nd.