If you find yourself in Madrid on a Friday, it won't be long before you hear the lively melodies of San Ildefonso school children announcing the winning lottery numbers. Known as "El Gordo," this Spanish lottery is one of the biggest in the world. This year, the prize pool reached a staggering €2.59 million ($2.85 million).
The drawing takes place just before Christmas and is broadcasted across the airwaves, filling homes and bars with anticipation. Even while strolling through the streets of any Spanish town, you're likely to overhear the excitement of the lottery draw.
The Teatro Real in Madrid serves as the venue for the drawing, attracting participants dressed in festive attire. Everyone comes equipped with their own tickets, hopeful for a chance at the coveted Gordo prize. According to popular belief, buying tickets in a group increases your chances of winning. But there are also tales of individuals who make a last-minute dash on December 21st and miraculously manage to obtain a winning ticket.
However, one mustn't underestimate the odds of winning El Gordo. It has been calculated to be an astonishingly low 0.001%. There's even a famous video by David Orden, a professor at the University of Alcalá, which delves into the extremely slim chances of winning the top El Gordo prize.
So, while luck may seem like magic in this lottery, El Gordo continues to captivate participants from around the world with its allure and grandeur.
The Enchantment of Spain's El Gordo Lottery
"People usually don't see 100,000 things together, so it's difficult to visualize how small that is," shared Orden in a 2016 interview, highlighting the enormity of Spain's prized El Gordo lottery.
The Odds of Winning
With numerous smaller Gordo prizes up for grabs, Orden calculated the chances of winning any prize at approximately 15%.
A Glimpse into the 2024 Drawing
If you happened to guess the number 88008 for the 2024 drawing, then fortune and glory will be yours. The newspapers in Spain overflow with touching and bizarre stories arising from this grand event: grandparents who couldn't afford holiday presents and won €6,000, a Barcelona shopping mall where the second, fourth, and seventh prizes were captured with the help of a "piedra de oro," a golden stone that customers rub their numbers on for good luck. Additionally, in one of Sevilla's most impoverished neighborhoods, a lottery-ticket vendor will distribute nearly €5 million in prizes.
For Those Who Missed Out
For the multitude who did not win a prize, large or small, there is always El Niño, or the Extraordinary Child - another renowned Spanish lottery that takes place on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany.
From the archives (December 2016): 'El Gordo' and its $2.4 billion jackpot draw crowds to Spain's luckiest lottery shop
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