New legislation protecting minors from gambling will make an exception for the children from San Ildefonso School, who are famous for singing out the winning numbers of the Christmas lottery known as El Gordo (The Fat One).
The draft of the royal decree on gambling activities has an addendum that reads: “The participation of the children of San Ildefonso in the Christmas Lottery draw, which they have traditionally participated in, and in the El Niño draw, will not be considered incompatible with the principle of protection of minors.” El Nino (The Child) lottery is held each Feast of the Epiphany, on January 6.
El Gordo is the world’s biggest lottery by total prize payout and handed out a total of €2.24 billion in 2014
The proposed legislation, which is being put forward by the ruling Popular Party (PP) in a bid to control compulsive behavior and promote responsible gambling, has now been opened to public discussion and consists of 36 articles.
The winning number is sung out at the 2014 El Gordo Christmas lottery.
One of these articles addresses the need to protect minors from gambling, and prohibits any kind of advertising that encourages children and youths to place bets, either directly or with help from third parties. Children’s voices or likenesses may not be used in gambling advertising or activities, either.
But the executive is making an exception for the children of San Ildefonso because of “their deep-rooted tradition” of singing out the Christmas lottery tickets.
Students at this school, which was originally for orphans, have been singing out the lottery tickets since 1812 in a traditional ceremony that remains mostly unchanged since then. Winners are expected to donate a small portion of their prize money to the child who sang out their number.
El Gordo is the world’s biggest lottery by total prize payout. Last year, it handed out a total of €2.24 billion in prize money.