Winners across Spain celebrate results of ‘El Gordo’ Christmas lottery

The top prize in the world-famous draw was called for the number 86148 at 12.15pm

Lottery prize winners celebrate in Seville.
Lottery prize winners celebrate in Seville.PACO PUENTES (EL PAÍS)

The winning number in this year’s Spanish Christmas lottery – popularly known as El Gordo (The Fat One) – is 86148. The lucky five-digit figure corresponding to the top €4-million prize was sung out by two children from San Ildefonso school as per tradition at 12.15pm.

A little after 11am, the second prize had been called out: 72199. The third prize was called under an hour later: 19517.

“We’ve been buying the same number for more than 30 years,” said Antonio Gracía, at a café in the center of Elche in southeast Spain, who took home one of the fifth prizes.

The world-famous lottery is handing out over €2.4 billion in prizes, the same amount as last year.

“I love you so much.” “I love you too... Come on, don’t cry.” The moment when Yanisse and Paula sing out the winning number at the Christmas lottery.

In Spain’s Christmas lottery, every number is divided into 10 identical segments, or décimos, costing €20 each. Because numbers are also divided into series, there are in fact 1,600 tickets with the same number sold at lottery sales points across the country, making it impossible for one person to buy them all.

Many people buy even smaller stakes in several décimos to increase their chances of winning something. A €1 stake in the winning number is worth €20,000, while a €20 décimo pays out €400,000 before taxes.

But those who miss out on El Gordo can still win significant amounts. Second prize awards €125,000 to each winning décimo or €6,250 for every euro played. Third prize is €50,000 for a décimo or €2,500 for every euro. The Christmas lottery also includes 1,794 prizes of €1,000 for every décimo or €5 for every euro (the so-called Pedrea). Punters also have the chance to win back the cost of a décimo (the Reintegro) if the last digit of their number matches the last digit in the six-digit sequence that wins first, second or third prize.

All prizes of over €2,500 are subject to a 20% tax. In the case of the Gordo first prize, €40,000 may be deducted from the taxable amount, which means that €72,000 goes to the Tax Agency and €328,000 to the ticket holder.

Long tradition

Children from San Ildefonso college call the number for second prize on Wednesday.
Children from San Ildefonso college call the number for second prize on Wednesday. Andrea Comas

Spain’s first national Christmas lottery took place on December 18, 1812. But historians say it was first conceived to buy bullets and make cannons to fight the French troops attacking the Andalusian city of Cádiz, which in 1812 was Spain´s last line of defense against the Napoleonic invasion.

Although the lottery was created during the siege of Cádiz, by the time the lottery was celebrated the siege had already ended, having lasted from February 5, 1810 to August 25, 1812.

The war, however, was still raging, and the lottery spread from Andalusia to the rest of Spain as the Spanish troops defeated the French. In 1814, when the war was nearly over, the lottery headquarters moved from Cádiz to Madrid, and it has remained in the capital ever since.

Christmas Lottery prizes (for each of the 170 series)

1st prize: El Gordo: €4 million

2nd prize: €1.25 million

3rd prize: €500,000

4th prize: two prizes of €200,000

5th prize: eight prizes of €60,000

Pedrea: 1,794 prizes of €1,000

Numbers before and after 1st prize: two prizes of €20,000

Numbers before and after 2nd prize: two prizes of €12,500

Numbers before and after 3rd prize: two prizes of €9,600

Numbers with the same first three digits as 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize: 297 prizes of €1,000

Numbers with the same first three digits as the 4th prize: 198 prizes of €1,000

Numbers with the same two last digits as 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize: 297 prizes of €1,000

Reintegro: 9,999 prizes of €200

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