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El Gordo Spanish Lottery Christmas 2017 E-mail
Written by christmas   


El Gordo Spanish Lottery 2017          
Gordo Lottery Spain - Lotería de Navidad El Gordo

El Gordo means the "the fat one" and is the Spanish Christmas lottery and the biggest lottery in the world. The drawing date is 22.12.2016 - 22nd December 2016. Check all El Gordo winning ticket numbers. Watch El Gordo lottery live stream on RTVE Spain. 

wins €4.000.000 for billete ticket sheet
(= €400.000 for a décimo / €300 for each euro paid)

wins €1.250.000 for billete ticket sheet
(= €125.000 for a décimo / €300 for each euro paid)

wins €500.000 € for billete ticket sheet
(= €50.000 for a décimo / €300 for each euro paid)

wins €200.000 for billete ticket sheet
(= €20.000 for a décimo / €1,000 for each euro paid)

wins €60.000 for billete ticket sheet
(= €6.000 for a décimo / €300 for each euro paid)

There are many more prizes of €1000 down to €20, so check your ticket numbers carefully. You can check all 2016 El Gordo winning ticket numbers here.

How to buy El Gordo Christmas lottery tickets and how El Gordo lottery works. The world's biggest lottery is in Spain and it is called the "Lotería de Navidad" - the Spanish Christmas lottery. The nickname is El Gordo, which means "fatty" or "the fat one." This nickname is both for the entire lottery and the winning first prize number. The lottery got the the Gordo name because the total prize money is over 2 billion euro. In 2016 the total prize amount is 2,310 billion out of 3.3 billion euro worth of tickets sold. This makes El Gordo the biggest lottery draw in the world. 


This webpage is a a guide to the El Gordo Spanish Christmas Lottery 2016. We explain how El Gordo works and how to buy el Gordo lottery tickets in Spain and how to check El Gordo winning numbers. The El Gordo lottery date is always 22nd December in the morning. The El Gordo lottery draw starts live at 9am - 09:00 (CET time) in Spain and is always broadcast live on TV and online.

Video promotion spot El Gordo Lotería de Navidad 2016 with English subtitles. The 2016 Christmas Spanish Lottery advert really tugs at the heart strings as the tale unfolds about how a family and a village react when grandmother Carmina is convinced she’s won the four million Euro prize after watching last years lottery draw on TV by mistake. See for yourself what happens.

About El Gordo Spanish lottery 2016

El Gordo is the biggest lottery in the world. The name El Gordo means "The Fat One".  The nickname came from the enormous amount of prize money. The Spanish Christmas Lottery is officially called "el Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad" or just "Lotería de Navidad" in Spanish. It is the biggest lottery in the world in terms of overall prize money payouts, hence the name "El Gordo" lottery, which translates as the Fat One.

El Gordo is actually the nickname of the first prize winning ticket number, rather than the whole lottery. 2011 was the first of the "fattest" El Gordo in history called "El Gorda más gorda de la historia." The biggest winning number in 2011 paid out 4 million euros. And that figure stayed the same since then, so in 2016 the biggest winning number also pays 4 million euros. The second prize pays out 1.250.000 euro. The total prize amount in 2016 will be 2.3 billion euros that can be won by around 15,000 winning ticket numbers in different amounts. Read how the ticket system works further down this page. Buena Suerte - Bon Sort - Good Luck! 

This huge Spanish lottery is drawn on 22nd December every year and the whole of Spain watches on TV. In 2016 El Gordo celebrates its 204th anniversary. The lottery drawing ceremony is at Teatro Real de Madrid in Madrid, Spain and is broadcast live on Spanish TV channel "La 1" and on the Internet on the website from 8am. The lottery draw starts at 9am. 

How can I buy El Gordo lottery tickets?

In Spain you can buy El Gordo tickets at lottery offices in Barcelona at hypermarkets, on high streets and at many tobacconist shops called Estancos. Some of the places that sell El Gordo tickets are considered "lucky" for one reason or another and people stand in line for hours to buy a ticket there.

El Gordo tickets start selling months in advance. Many businesses like bars offer parts of tickets called participaciones. You can also buy El Gordo tickets online if you are in Spain and if you want to buy from outside Spain, there are various websites that offer El Gordo tickets, but be sure to check them to avoid fraud. 

Official website Spanish Christmas Lottery
Twitter page Spanish Lottery

The biggest winning ticket of the "el Gordo" Spanish Christmas is worth about 4 million euros in total, but what makes the Spanish Christmas lottery the biggest in the world, is that there are many winning numbers with prizes of smaller amounts. The El Gordo lottery pays out more lottery prizes than any other lottery draw in the world, which is why the Spanish Christmas lottery is the biggest lottery payout in the world. Almost everyone in Spain buys one or more tickets for "El Gordo" Spanish Christmas lottery with an average cost of 70 euros per person.

The total annual prize payout of El Gordo of over 2 billion euros makes El Gordo a self-perpetuating success. The bigger the winnings, the more tickets people buy, which generates bigger prize amounts and then more people buy more tickets, and so on. That is how the legendary Spanish lottery of El Gordo grew to become the biggest lottery in the world. No-one in Spain can resist the lure of El Gordo at Christmas - and especially in times of financial hardship.

The Spanish Christmas lottery started in 1812 which makes it is 204 years old in 2016. An estimated 75% of the Spanish population buys a lottery ticket or buys a share of a ticket. Some even say the figure is closer to 90%. It is also estimated that each Spaniard spends around 70 euros on average on El Gordo lottery tickets!

Some more facts. The lottery draw is managed by the Spanish government. 30% of the lottery sales goes to the government in taxes and 70% is paid out in prizes. El Gordo was tax-free until 2013. From 2013 there is a 20% tax on all winnings over the amount of €2500. Winnings under €2500 are tax-free. Another reason why El Gordo is so popular is that the prize money is spread over 15,000 different winning numbers, which means there are many smaller cash prizes. Some say El Gordo tickets have a 1 in 3 chance of winning, while others put it lower at 15%.

El Gordo numbers and prizes

The numbering system of El Gordo is quite complex. You don't pick your own numbers. For El Gordo you buy a pre-printed ticket with your number. There are 100,000 different numbers in the Spanish Christmas lottery. These 100,000 numbers range from 00000 to 99999 and are on the lottery balls which tumble around inside a giant rotating drum on the day of the El Gordo lottery draw. Each lottery ticket number has a picture of a Christmas nativity scene and the pictures change every year. On 22nd December every year the winning numbers are drawn. This happens live on Spanish national TV in a tradition that dates many years - although obviously not as far as the first El Gordo lottery that dates back over two hundred years to 4th March 1812. 

How the numbers are picked. Every 22nd December from 9am in the morning forty children aged 8 to 14 years old from the school "Colegio de San Ildefonso" in Segovia, which was formerly an orphanage. The children are called "los niños de San Ildefonso" and in pairs they pick out small wooden numbered balls out of the two big golden drums that contain all 100.000 numbers. This lottery ceremony is called "el soniquete de los Niños de San Ildefonso." One drum has the winning numbers and the other has the prize amounts. The children come forward in pairs and pick and sing out a lottery number from one drum, and then pick and sing out a prize amount for that number from the other drum.

The ceremony takes place at the "Teatro Real de Madrid" and takes just over three hours. It's very sweet and Christmas in Spain just wouldn't be the same without it. Naturally because of the money involved it's very exciting viewing, at least until the 1st prize, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th winning numbers are drawn. The big prizes that everyone is waiting for are 1 first prize, 1 second prize, one third  prize, 2 fourth prizes and 8 fifth prizes and many smaller prizes.

El Gordi tickets and numbers

El Gordo lottery ticket system

An El Gordo ticket (billete) has a pre-printed a 5-digit number. 
Each ticket number has multiple series' or sets of the same ticket number
The exact quantity of tickets and series, as well as their price and the exact distribution of prizes, change from year to year.

Examples of how total El Gordo tickets numbers vary:

In 2016 there are 100,000 different ticket numbers in 165 series'
In 2015 there were 100,000 different tickets number in 180 series'
In 2013 there were 100,000 different tickets number in 160 series'
In 2012 there were 100,000 different ticket number in 180 series'
In 2006 there were 85,000 ticket number in 180 series' 
In 2004 there were 66,000 different ticket number in 195 series'

A series is like an A4 sheet with 10 smaller tickets on it. (see illustration above)
A full ticket sheet called billete costs €200 . 
Each billete ticket sheet is divided into ten smaller tickets called "décimos" which cost 20 euros each. Most people buy a "décimo", which like a full lottery ticket, but as explained above a "décimo" is technically a tenth of a ticket. So if your number wins El Gordo you will get 4,000,000 euros but if you only have a décimo you get a tenth which is 400,000 euro for your decimo ticket.


How El Gordo prizes work?

The first prize of El Gordo goes to a single winning number. Here's an example. In 2006 the winning number was 20297 and the prize amount was 3 million euros. There were 180 series' of the number 20297, so the 3 million was paid out 180 times to a full sheet or ticket with that number. So the total payout to the first prize number of 180 x 3 million = 540 million euros. Anyone holding a tenth of a ticket, a "décimo" of the number 20297 in 2006 won the corresponding amount of the 3 million prize for each ticket in the series. So a "décimo"which is a tenth of the number 20297 won €300,000 in 2006. 

In 2016 first prize of El Gordo goes to a single winning number and the 1st prize amount is 4 million euros. There will be 165 series' of the 1st prize number, so the 4 million will be paid 165 times to a full sheet or ticket with the 1st prize number. So the total payout to the first prize El Gordo winning number is 165 x 4 million = 660 million euros.

People holding a billete with 10 "décimo" tickets of the 1st prize number in 2016 will win the corresponding amount of the 4 million prize because they have one of the 165 series with the wining number. And a "décimo" which is a tenth of the 1st prize number will win €400,000 in 2016.

The total 2016 the total El Gordo ticket value of all tickets is 3,300 million euros with 70% being paid out in prize money so 2.300 million euros in winnings. Read this article about the previous years last El Gordo winning numbers (in Spanish) in La Vanguardia to see the winning numbers from 2001 to 2011 and where the winning numbers were from. You can also see how many prizes were won in Catalunya each year. The 2016 prize amounts range fro 400,000 euro to 200 euro.

1st prize El Gordo lottery number - 1 winner who gets €4,000,000 for 1 billete
2nd prize El Gordo lottery number - 1 winner who get €1,250,000 for 1 billete
3rd prize El Gordo lottery number - 1 winner who get €500,000 for 1 billete
4th El Gordo lottery number - 2 winners who get €200,000 each for 1 billete
5th El Gordo lottery amount - 8 winners who get €60,000 each for 1 billete

After that comes many smaller prizes, called of amounts ranging from €20,000 down to the 1774 smallest prizes, called "la pedrea" which means the stones, La Pedrea pays €1000 on a billete ticket, so you get your €100 for a decimo ticket and many reinvest this amount to enter the next big lottery, the "Lotería de el Niño" which is always on 6th January. The smallest prizes are €200 for a billete, which pays back the €20 cost of a decimo lottery ticket.

Winning numbers El Gordo

There are many superstitions and traditions about how to pick the winning number. Many people repeat their "lucky" numbers and certain numbers sell out quickly like the dates of weddings of celebrites etc. Or numbers that have won before. Many people, companies, bars, and charities buy one or more "décimos" and sell it off in parts to colleagues, friends, customers etc. This is often done by splitting a 20 euro decimo into 20 parts of €1 each. These fractions of "décimos" are called "participaciones." In Spain when someone wins the lottery it's a happy ending for all. The prize money is spread around the whole family. You will always see TV footage of a whole village or town neighbourhood dancing, hugging, kissing and drinking Cava on 22nd December ! They have all won the Spanish Christmas Lottery, El Gordo!

How to buy El Gordo tickets

You can buy El Gordo tickets online in Spain at the official El Gordo website made by the "Loterías y Apuestas del Estado", the Spanish Lottery organization. Foreigners and people outside Spain can buy El Gordo tickets via various websites that offer El Gordo tickets.

Official website Spanish Christmas Lottery
Website Spanish Lottery
Twitter page Spanish Lottery

Most people in Spain buy at the many lottery ticket offices throughout Spain or they buy "participaciones" at bars, offices or from family and friends. If you live outside Spain there are many online companies who sell tickets. Some of them are probably quite genuine and trustworthy, but we suggest you check their references carefully before you buy. 

When can I get my money if I win?

For smaller winnings up to 1000 euros you collect your lottery winnings at the lottery ticket offices in Spain. For bigger amounts you can collect your winnings at certain Spanish banks including BBVA, Santander, Banco Popular, CaixaBanc. The banks do not charge a commission on lottery payouts or ask you to open an account. You can also contact the Spanish lottery organisation Loterías y Apuestas del Estado on their website or by phone 902112313 or fax 915335136)

Tax on El Gordo lottery winnings

There is a 20% tax on all El Gordo prizes over €2500. 2012 was the last year of un-taxed El Gordo prizes. From 2013 all prizes above 2500 euros are taxed at 20% so if you win El Gordo of 400.000 from a décimo ticket, then you will get 320,000 after tax.

El Gordo scams

In recent years there have been many examples of scams by people purporting to represent the El Gordo Lottery, mostly aimed at non-residents of Spain, who don't know how the lottery operates. The bottom line is that if you didn't not buy a lottery ticket, then you have not won, so don't fall for anything without checking at the official organisation in Spain.

Official website El Gordo lottery

The official operator of the Spanish El Gordo lottery, Loterias y Apuestas de Estado has issued a warning about fraudsters using the name El Gordo and forging documentation and bank forms to obtain money under false pretences. Mailings and emails are being sent to UK consumers claiming they have won the Spanish lottery. In order to claim their 'prize', recipients are asked to provide their bank account details and told that 5-10 per cent of the winnings will be retained for costs. However the 'winners' are later contacted and asked for various fees in order to release their alleged prize, and they never receive a penny. Genuine Spanish lottery prizes are always free from taxes. If you receive fraudulent El Gordo material you can help the investigations of Loterías y Apuestas de Estado by sending a copy to the following address:

Loterías y Apuestas del Estado Legal Advice Service

C/ Guzmán el Bueno nº 137

28003 Madrid Spain

Fax number: 00 34 91 533 51 36

Video Lotería de Navidad 2016

Video Lotería de Navidad 2015

Good luck - Bon Sort - Buena Suerte!

Lottery tip! Don't buy your ticket too late or all the lottery tickets can be sold out! And if you didn't win in El Gordo try the other big Christmas lottery in Spain on 6th January (Kings Day) called "El Niño" lottery. The Catalan government has also started a Catalan version of El Gordo called la Grossa de Cap D'any which also has a big payout.


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