‘El Gordo’ lot­tery sparks cel­e­bra­tions across Madrid

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Madrid with the own­ers of a lot­tery kiosk that sold the win­ning num­ber in Spain’s ‘El Gordo’ Christ­mas Lot­tery on Thurs­day.

Work­ers at a home for the el­derly were among those cel­e­brat­ing on Thurs­day in Madrid af­ter all the tick­ets with the top prize-win­ning num­ber in Spain’s $2.4 bil­lion Christ­mas lot­tery were sold in one city neigh­bor­hood.

The num­ber 66513 ap­peared on 1,650 tick­ets in the lot­tery known as El Gordo (“The Fat One”), with each ticket holder win­ning $418,000.

The win­ning tick­ets are nor­mally sold in sev­eral dif­fer­ent lot­tery out­lets around the coun­try but this time they were all sold from one out­let in the mod­est Aca­cias neigh­bor­hood of the Span­ish cap­i­tal.

Peo­ple could be seen cel­e­brat­ing in nearby shops and bars and Span­ish tele­vi­sion broad­cast im­ages of peo­ple danc­ing and singing in the streets af­ter win­ning some of the lot­tery’s lesser prizes.

Other lotteries have larger in­di­vid­ual top prizes but El Gordo, which dates from 1812, is ranked as the world’s rich­est for the to­tal prize money up for grabs.

This year it dished out 25 mil­lion prizes. Stan­dard tick­ets cost $21 and peo­ple tra­di­tion­ally chip in and buy shares in sev­eral tick­ets with friends, fam­ily or work­mates.

Many of the tick­ets were bought by work­ers and res­i­dents at the neigh­bor­hood’s Penue­las re­tirees’ home, where staff mem­bers have been buy­ing the same ticket num­ber for 14 years.

“We’re de­lighted that some re­tirees also won,” said ther­a­pist Eve­lyn May­or­domo, 36.

She said most of her lucky col­leagues planned to pay off mort­gages or buy apart­ments.

“We’re all work­ing class peo­ple ... peo­ple that needed it,” said May­or­domo.

‘Struck me twice’

Also for­tu­nate was bank worker Mar­ian Lopez, 37, who is four months preg­nant and shared the top win­ning ticket with her mother.

“The ‘Fat One’ has struck me twice,” she joked, re­fer­ring to her slight bulge. She said she might spend the money fix­ing up her house.

Vi­cente Villaverde, 44, a gas com­pany worker who lives across the street from the lot­tery of­fice, said he has bought lot­tery tick­ets end­ing in 13 for the past six years.

“As I have had so much bad luck in my life, I have al­ways said the num­ber 13 will bring me for­tune. And this year it has!” said Villaverde.

He planned to get speech classes for his seven-year-old son who has Down syn­drome, and buy his girl­friend a car.

“The ham, the cham­pagne, the whisky are on me this year!” he told his part­ner over the phone.

Au­gustin Ramos, who took over run­ning the lucky lot­tery of­fice four months ago, bought one of the 1,650 tick­ets for him­self and his wife, Maria Josefa Rojo Cabr­era.

“I felt hap­pi­ness see­ing that those that won needed the money,” said Rojo Cabr­era.

Spain es­tab­lished its na­tional lot­tery as a char­ity in 1763, dur­ing the reign of King Car­los III, but its ob­jec­tive grad­u­ally shifted to­ward fill­ing state cof­fers.

Or­ga­niz­ers said ticket sales to­taled $2.7 bil­lion this year, up 3.5 per­cent from last year.

prize for each of 1,650 ticket hold­ers of the win­ning num­ber in Spain’s Christ­mas lot­tery

A woman cel­e­brates

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