El Gordo Lottery As Xmas Prezzie

A total jackpot of $2.2 billion was drawn Saturday at Spain giant El Gordo - The Fat One - lottery with the winning numbers 76058, and 43 percent of that is going to ticket-holders who matched all five numbers.

This year the El Gordo draw took place at Madrid Teatro Real opera, lasted more than three hours, with orphans from the San Ildefonso school chanting the winning numbers.

The 200-year-old Christmas lottery has awarded 180 jackpots. Tickets are sold in batches that carry the same numbers, so prizes tend to converge geographically, therefore it is no wonder that a working class neighborhood in Alcala de Henares, a university town outside Madrid, had many winners.

There are two major lottery draws in Spain every year: the first, January 6, is El Nino (The Child) on the Feast of the Epiphany, awarding around Euro 840 million, and the other government-run lottery El Gordo on December 22..

Interestingly enough, new government austerity measures, starting January 1, include a 20 percent tax on all lottery prizes bigger than Euro 2,500 which will impact El Nino winners, and this year's El Gordo is the last non-taxed lottery.

Despite sales slipping 8 percent to Euro 2.47 billion compared to a 0.5 percent drop in 2011, this year over 27 million individual prizes will be awarded in Spain lottery drawings.

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