Save the date! The time for the biggest lottery in the world to shine is December 22nd! The Spanish Christmas Lottery, better known as Loteria de Navidad, is here once again, with a huge prize pool worth more than €2.24 billion! Read everything you have ever wanted to know about the Spanish Christmas lottery, here!
Origins of the Lottery in Spain
December 2013 saw the Spanish National Lottery celebrate its 250th birthday. The very first form of Spanish lottery was created in 1763 with the aim of improving the government's financial situation. Spain was up to its ears in colonization campaigns and the war in Mexico at the time, and the coffers desperately needed more coins in them. After some advice was sought from Italian experts, the Spanish government created the Spanish National Lottery organization, Organización Nacional de Loterías y Apuestas del Estado.
The First Spanish Christmas Lottery Draw
The first near-Christmas lottery in Spain was drawn on December 10th, 1763, in Madrid, and five numbers were drawn from a pool of ninety. This was not the Loteria de Navidad yet. Forty-eight years later, in 1811, the Spanish Parliament decided to offer more lotteries, and thus the concept of a Spanish Christmas-specific lottery was officially introduced.
The first raffle draws were held in Cadiz, and later moved to San Fernando. As the raffle grew more popular and became more widespread, it even reached Ceuta, once a Spanish colony and nowadays an autonomous city of Spain, located on the north coast of Africa.
Loteria de Navidad Becomes Official!
In 1892, the Spanish Christmas Raffle was drawn on December 22nd, and has been drawn on the same date every year since. That year was also the year in which the raffle received its own name, Extraordinario Sorteo de Navidad! The draw is a national spectacle and is celebrated in style all over Spain, where Christmas and the Loteria de Navidad go hand-in-hand. The people attending the draw event often wear lottery-related extravagant clothes.
The San Ildefonso School has been accompanying the Spanish Christmas Raffle since the very beginning, when it was still an orphanage. The children’s choir from the school sings each winning number as it comes out, and it is a beautiful sight to behold.
Raffle Tickets as Christmas Presents?
Ticket shares are not only gifted to loved ones as part of their Christmas presents, but are universally accepted as proper gifts at clubs and even businesses, sometimes even passing between several gift-ers. Lottery officers usually buy tickets for sale by the batches, so that the raffle numbers are part of a series. Due to this, when players buy several shares and tickets from a single lottery officer, their numbers tend to be in a series as well. It's common courtesy to gift the shares you've purchased from the same string to your loved ones and other people you consider important. This is how an entire work department can become a Navidad winner, and in one case, this extended to an entire village!
How does the Loteria de Navidad Raffle Actually Work?
Loteria de Navidad ticket sales open six months prior to the draw, during the month of July. One hundred thousand tickets with five digit codes are available, and 160 copies are made for each number prior to being divided into tickets. The price for a single ticket is quite steep, which is why every ticket is ten different shares, called décimos.
If this sounds confusing, here is a slightly simpler way to look at it: there will be 160 winning tickets for the jackpot raffle prize, also known as the top prize, or El Gordo. Each of these tickets is divided into ten shares, making it a total of 1,600 shares that will receive their portion of the jackpot. The fourth prize division is handed out to two winning raffle numbers. Multiply that by 160 ticket copies and 10 shares per ticket, which means that there will be 3,200 people who win it!
The Spanish Christmas Raffle offers 17 different prize categories that give over 15 thousand different ways to win various sums. Multiply that by 160 and again by ten, and you get a whole lot of winners! And for this precise reason, the Navidad prize pool is the biggest one in the world, worth a mind-boggling €2.24 billion!
Loteria de Navidad Balls
Loteria de Navidad balls weigh 3 grams each, and have a diameter of 18.8 millimeters. The numbers are written on the balls with a laser, to avoid any kind of difference in weight distribution among them. Prior to the draw, the balls are all displayed, so that players can check and see that the balls with their numbers are not absent from the draw. In addition to balls that display the raffle number, there are balls that display the prize.
Loteria de Navidad – the Draw!
Unlike other raffles, the Spanish Christmas Lottery even draws in a very special way. There are two revolving spheres in the draw; one contains the raffle numbers, and the other one contains the various prize amounts.
A single ball is removed from each of the spheres at the same time. One child from the San Ildefonso School sings the winning number, and another child sings the corresponding prize. The process is repeated until all the prize balls have a number to call their own. This takes several hours, and the children sing in shifts. When big prizes are drawn, the children repeat the singing several times. Although numbers are drawn by pure chance, it's customary for the children who sing the higher prizes to receive applause.
El Gordo! El Gordo! El Gordo!
Contrary to popular belief, El Gordo is not the name of this raffle. El Gordo simply means "the big one", and it is the common term used in Spanish to describe the jackpot. Unlike most lotteries, where it is common for one to three people to win the jackpot, the Spanish Christmas Raffle features 160 lucky tickets who grant their shareholders a total of €4 million each per ticket! An estimated 98% of the Spanish population participates in Loteria de Navidad!
Playing de Navidad When You're Not in Spain
Thanks to the internet, you no longer have to travel all the way to Spain just to take part in the Spanish Christmas Raffle! Wherever you are, theLotter makes raffle tickets available for you. Click here to buy your shares of Loteria de Navidad raffle tickets and play for your chance of winning one of the prizes, and taking part of the €2.24 billion prize pool home with you!
theLotter purchases tickets in advance from an authorized lottery operator in Spain, and we keep your ticket locked up securely in a safe after sending you a scan of your ticket. Wins are transferred directly to your account. The cost of playing Loteria de Navidad online with theLotter is €35 per share, and when you purchase 4 shares or more, you receive a 10% discount!
The raffle will be drawn on December 22nd, and every day counts!
The Biggest theLotter Loteria de Navidad Winner
Several players on theLotter have won various prize divisions in the Loteria de Navidad, most notably A.G from Latvia. A.G is a VIP member on the site. This player managed to do more than just win a $2,370 prize in Loteria de Navidad; he was blessed by Lady Luck and won many prizes, including a €110,000 prize on another Spanish lottery, La Primitiva! The best thing about any of these prizes, of course, was the fact that both purchasing the raffle and lottery tickets online as well as collecting the humongous wins, were cheaper than flying to Spain even once!
The Spanish Christmas Raffle in the Media
Loteria de Navidad has a strong marketing team that creates mind-boggling campaigns every year for the Christmas raffle! Sit back and enjoy as you watch the commercials.
More Loteria de Navidad Commercials, Please!
Loteria de Navidad - the Bullet Points
- Loteria de Navidad is drawn every December 22nd.
- Offers a prize pool of €2.24 billion.
- 100,000 raffle numbers available, numbered from 00000 to 99999.
- 160 copies exist for every number.
- Jackpot winnings odds are 1:100,000, and the jackpot pays €4 million to each winner!
- Winning odds for any prize in Loteria de Navidad is 1 in 7.
- 70% of the revenue goes to the wins! The other 30% are used for advertising, administration, and tax purposes.
Amazing Loteria de Navidad Winners’ Stories
Many heartwarming winners' stories exist for the Loteria de Navidad, but the best-known among them is the raffle win of the Spanish village Sodeto. The village lies at the foot of a mountain by the same name, has a population of 228, and produces agriculture. Lottery operators often buy Navidad tickets in batches that include series of numbers, and this is exactly what happened in Sodeto in 2011. When the number 58268 was sung by the children as the El Gordo, everyone who had purchased a ticket in the village, meaning everyone in the village, realized they had won a Loteria de Navidad prize! Thanks to the 2011 Spanish Christmas raffle, Sodeto is among the top richest villages in all of Spain!
Be a Lottery Raffle Winner
Buy your Loteria de Navidad shares now for your chance of participating in this once-in-a-year event for your chance of taking part of that €2.24 billion prize pool home!
By Jeff Washburn
Jeff is a self-proclaimed news junkie. He studied political science at Saint Culonbam College and now resides in London with his family. Jeff loves following all of the news in the lottery world – from big winners to changes in draw structures and new lotteries.
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