El Gordo de Navidad is a Spanish raffle, and it is the second-oldest continuous running raffle in the world. The draw takes place every year on December 22nd in Madrid and has become a huge part of the Spanish holiday celebrations.
What is El Gordo de Navidad?
El Gordo de Navidad is also known as the Spanish Christmas raffle. The scope of the raffle, which is only drawn once a year, is truly huge; for example, in 2017, the prize pool for the draw was in excess of €2 billion. This means that El Gordo de Navidad is the largest prize pool in the world.
Fun fact: many people know this raffle as the El Gordo raffle, but this is something of a misnomer. The raffle - which is officially called “Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad” - has a top prize that is known as “El Gordo”, but this is just a Spanish colloquial term for “big prize”. Any Spanish raffle or lottery can have an “El Gordo” - the name has just stuck as being particularly synonymous with the Christmas raffle.
How does El Gordo de Navidad work?
As El Gordo de Navidad is a raffle, it works slightly differently to the conventional lotteries players are accustomed to. Players can purchase a full ticket, known as a “billete”, or a “decimo” and the tickets players purchase will determine their potential winnings. If players own a tenth of the ticket they can claim a tenth of the prize should their billete win.
It is also worth noting that each billete can be sold multiple times. If a billette that has been sold multiple times is won in the draw, it is paid out in full many times over. This is rather different to a standard lottery, where multiple winners would mean a shared jackpot.
When did El Gordo de Navidad start?
The first El Gordo de Navidad draw took place in 1812, and the draw has continued every single year since then. During the Spanish Civil War (1936 - 1939), the draw moved from its usual home in Madrid to Valencia, but it was still drawn for every year of the conflict.
What can players win?
Over 1,000 different people can win something for every El Gordo de Navidad draw. The prizes are tiered as follows:
- 1 x “El Gordo” (First Prize) worth €4,000,000 per billete.
- 1 x Second Prize worth €1,250,000 per billete.
- 1 x Third Prize worth €500,000 per billete.
- 2 x Fourth Prize worth €200,000 per billete.
- 8 x Fifth Prize worth €60,000 per billete.
- 1,794 x Sixth Prize worth €1,000 per billete.
The prizes then continue down to 9,999 prizes worth €200 as the bottom tier.
It is worth mentioning that players who bought a “decimo” would not win the full amounts as mentioned above. For example, if a player bought a decimo and won El Gordo, they would win €400,000 rather than €4,000,000.
Since 1996, it has been possible to play El Gordo de Navidad online, so it might well be worth considering trying this famous Spanish lottery for yourself today!