El Gordo de Navidad

El Gordo, or to use its full name, El Gordo de Navidad, is a Spanish Lottery that first began in 1812 and is held just once each year. The draw takes place on 22 December and awards thousands of prizes with a total value of billions – yes, billions – of Euros, making it the most generous lottery game in the world. With players having a 1 in 3 chance of winning any prize, it is also one of the most winnable! No wonder, then, that El Gordo translates as “The Fat One”.

How to Play Elgordo Loteria

El Gordo is a rather unusual lottery in that tickets are already numbered, much like raffle tickets. Tickets for each year’s El Gordo draw go on sale from mid September.

The tickets themselves are sold in tenths, so a player would need to buy a complete strip of tenths to qualify for the whole prize won by that ticket. If a player buys just one tenth, he would obviously receive one tenth of the value of any prize that the ticket won.

Because tickets are numbered individually, the actual El Gordo draw takes a lot longer than any other lottery game. The draw begins on the morning of 22 December and involves two spheres. One sphere contains the numbers 00001 to 85000, which represent ticket numbers, and the other sphere contains numbers which represent various prizes. The drawing itself takes several hours.

As you might expect with so much money at stake and so much time involved in drawing the winning numbers, El Gordo has evolved into a major entertainment event and few Spaniards are in the habit of missing it when the day of the draw comes around. In fact, many families like to view the El Gordo draw as the beginning of their Christmas celebrations, and we can’t think of any better way for a lottery enthusiast to get the festive season underway.