The world’s biggest raffle is here again – it’s time for El Gordo Navidad

The festive season is just around the corner, which means that it is time for the El Gordo Navidad raffle to excite people all around the world once more. Spain’s annual Christmas raffle, formally named “Loteria de Navidad”, is waiting for you to sign up for your winning raffle tickets. Don’t waste too much time, make sure that you get your tickets before it’s too late – you wouldn’t want to miss out on over €2.3 billion in prizes, in this once-a-year only draw! 

El Gordo Navidad’s Origins

El Gordo Navidad loosely translated is: “The Fat Christmas One”, because it is the largest festive time raffle around. Its original Spanish name is, “Loteria de Navidad” and it started more than 200 years ago in 1812 and has been held every single year since – it was even held during the tumultuous time of the Spanish Civil War. 

A record-breaking €2.3 billion in prizes is available to players this year and it is hailed as being the world’s biggest lottery. Players worldwide, as well as its local players in Spain, get sent into a frenzy every year when El Gordo de Navidad time draws near – mostly due to this raffle’s mind-blowing odds starting at 1:6:5 for prizes. The odds of winning the top prizes in this raffle, are also a lot better than in most draws, standing at 1 in 100,000. 



This raffle stands out from all the others because of its previously mentioned spectacular odds, as well as the stunning ceremony that accompanies the draw. The official draw takes hours to complete and children from the San Ildefonso School in Madrid melodically sing out all the results. Another reason this specific draw is so hyped up is due to the comradery and joy that is often shared amongst winners. It’s not uncommon for players, colleagues, families and friends to join forces and share the cost of taking part, as well as the winnings. 


El Gordo Navidad


Draw Process

The 5-digit raffle ticket numbers are lasered meticulously on to 100,000 small wooden balls. Lasering the ticket numbers was chosen instead of paint, as paint is thought to weigh down the balls differently, thereby affecting the draw results. All the balls are exactly 19mm in diameter and weigh exactly 3 grams. 

All the balls are placed in two large machines called “bombos”. One machine houses the raffle ticket numbers, and the other machine houses the balls determining the values of the prizes. All the raffle number balls and prize balls are drawn simultaneously to make sure it isn’t rigged in any way and to ensure that players can see the winning number and exactly how much you can win instantly. 


Winning Big Raffle Tickets

There are 18 million raffle tickets available in total. Players can either choose to buy a “decimo” (tenth), which is 1/10th of a full ticket. This is the most popular for many players, as it is a lot cheaper than buying a full ticket. A full ticket is known simply as a “billete” (ticket) and is a bit more pricey, but offers a far larger prize if the corresponding raffle number is drawn. 

100,000 pre-defined numbers are printed on tickets, each containing a five-digit code ranging from 00000 to 99999. These tickets are then reprinted in 170 identical copies and split into 10 shares, as previously mentioned. This means that there are 170 million shares up for grabs.

The top prize for a full ticket holder is €4 million, so this means that if you have a tenth ticket, your top prize will be €400,000. Because ticket numbers are duplicated 170 times, this means that El Gordo Navidad will give away a total of €680 million in jackpots to the 170 ticket holders with the top prize winning raffle ticket number. 

15 304 tickets will be awarded prizes in the draw, which means that 1 in every 6.6 tickets will win a prize. This, of course, is just one of the many reasons that the El Gordo Navidad draw is so anticipated worldwide.


Get your tickets now or risk missing out!

98% of adults living in Spain participate in the El Gordo Navidad celebrations annually and this number is slowly increasing. As previously mentioned, the number of tickets printed are finite, so they are extremely LIMITED – especially because they are offered internationally as well. 

Make sure that you don’t get left behind and get your tickets at before the draw entries close on the 21st of December. 

As this draw only happens every Christmas, make sure to get the most out of your festive season and get your ‘biletes’ and ‘decimos’ right now! 


This post was written by
Jason L - who has written 58 articles
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