- Title: SPAIN-LOTTERY PREPARATIONS Spaniards gamble for 'Fat One' Christmas Lottery
- Date: 22nd December 2014
- Summary: MADRID, SPAIN (DECEMBER 22, 2014) (REUTERS) PEOPLE QUEUING OUTSIDE ROYAL THEATRE TO WATCH LOTTERY DRAW / PEOPLE ARRIVING WEARING COSTUMES PEOPLE IN QUEUE PEOPLE IN QUEUE JUMPING UP AND DOWN SAYING (Spanish): "MADRID IS PRESENT" VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WEARING COSTUME MAN WITH TOY LOTTERY ROLLER IMITATING THE CHANT OF THE CHILDREN OF THE SAN ILDEFONSO SCHOOL AS HE CALLS OUT NUMBERS MAN WEARING WIG LONG QUEUE OUTSIDE THEATRE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) 21 YEAR OLD STUDENT FROM JAEN, SOUTHERN SPAIN, MARIA JOSE GARCIA LOPEZ, SAYING: "It's our first time, we have come from Jaen. We are so impressed with the atmosphere. We expected the typical queue with few people, no atmosphere but we are having a great time here" (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) 81 YEAR OLD MADRID RESIDENT, ENRIQUE VILCHES, SAYING: "I never win, I always lose, I hope this year I am lucky" JOURNALIST ASKING: ""Have you bought many tenths?" ENRIQUE VILCHES, SAYING: "I have bought a few, if my wife finds out she will kick me out of the house" VARIOUS OF VILCHES READING A BOOK AND A WOMAN DRESSED AS AN ELF GIRL WEARING TOY REINDEER ANTLERS MAN WEARING REAL MADRID VIKING COSTUME MAN WEARING WISE MAN COSTUME SAYING (Spanish): "IT WILL BE MINE THIS YEAR" VARIOUS OF WOMAN HANDING OUT HOT CHOCOLATE AND CHURROS PEOPLE PASSING BY CARRYING CHURROS AND HOT CHOCOLATE STAND WITH HOT CHOCOLATE AND CHURROS WOMAN DIPPING CHURRO INTO HOT CHOCOLATE AND EATING IT VARIOUS OF WOMAN PUTTING CHURROS INTO PAPER BAG MAN POURING HOT CHOCOLATE INTO CUP MAN STUFFING PAPER BAG WITH CHURROS WOMAN HOLDING HOT CHOCOLATE NEAR HEATER
- Embargoed: 6th January 2015 12:00
- Location: Spain
- Country: Spain
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVAEOHRLU0E0PSD15BLFIIYI1OJZ
- Story Text: Spain's Christmas lottery with its top prize known as El Gordo, or "The Fat One," is a tradition in the festive season where people gamble to become richer just in time for Christmas.
Every 22nd of December, Spain is glued to radios and television sets, listening to the monotonous chant of voices of a group of children from the San Idelfonso college, dressed in navy blue and grey uniforms, who sing out the winning numbers and prizes.
This year the lottery will dish out 2.24 billion euros, making it the largest lottery in terms of total prize payout.
Many, wearing eccentric costumes go to the Royal Theatre to witness the draw live, queuing outside very early in the morning to get a good seat.
"We are so impressed with the atmosphere. We expected the typical queue with few people, no atmosphere but we are having a great time here," said Maria Jose Garcia Lopez who came from Jaen southern Spain with her brother.
El Gordo is the top prize but there are thousands more, and the draw can takes hours.
The smallest lottery unit sold is a tenth of a ticket, or decimo, for 20 euros ($26.99), while a series (multiple tickets) costs 200 euros.
The owners of a tenth of a series with the matching numbers for El Gordo will receive 400,000 euros.
Some people buy several decimos in the hope of increasing their chances of winning.
"I have bought a few, if my wife finds out she will kick me out of the house," 81 year old Enrique Vilches who has been attending the draw for 18 years said.
The tickets, drawn every year on December 22, are sold in over 4000 official kiosks throughout the country but can also be bought in a further 6,400 outlets such as newspaper kiosks.
Local bars and shops also sell decimos.
Even in gloomy economic times Spaniards will dig deep into their pockets and play the Christmas lottery pooling money with workmates or friends from the neighbourhood bar in order to have a chance to become a millionaire or share in one of the millions of cash prizes
The Christmas lottery was designed in 1812 to allow as many people as possible to get a festive windfall.
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