Monday 23 September 2019

Spanish lottery winners share £2.1bn jackpot

The top prize in the El Gordo draw earns the ticket-holder £360,000.

Tomas Arizta, owner of a lottery office in Pamplona, celebrates news he sold a first prize Christmas lottery ticket (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)
Tomas Arizta, owner of a lottery office in Pamplona, celebrates news he sold a first prize Christmas lottery ticket (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Winners are celebrating across Spain after the balls were drawn in the country’s mammoth 2.4 billion euro (£2.1 billion) Christmas lottery.

Holders of the ticket number 03347 struck it rich when they won the top prize of 400,000 euro (£360,000) in El Gordo, or The Fat One.

Officials confirmed tickets which won the top prize had been sold at various places across Spain.

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A man dressed as a lottery ball waits to enter Madrid’s Teatro Real opera house for the Spanish Christmas lottery draw (Paul White/AP)

Other lotteries have bigger individual top prizes but El Gordo, held every December 22, is ranked as the world’s biggest in terms of total prize money.

There are several winners of the top prize, while many other people take home smaller sums.

Children from Madrid’s San Ildefonso school called out the prizes on the nationally televised draw at Madrid’s Teatro Real opera house.

The tiny balls corresponding to the top prize rolled down chutes from two huge round cages and were called out by a pair of young girls three hours into the gala.

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School children call out the winning lottery ticket number 03347 (Paul White/AP)

People buy lottery tickets, which cost 20 euro (£18) each, for months in advance.

Following the draw has become a Christmas holiday tradition in Spain, with people glued to television sets, radios and the internet, where newspaper websites give a running commentary.

Spain established its national lottery as a charity in 1763, during the reign of King Carlos III. Its objective later became to shore up state coffers.

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