Countdown To The El Gordo Christmas Raffle Has Begun

The countdown to the biggest raffle in the world has started and you can buy as many tickets as you would like. With a prize pool of €2,380,000,000, El Gordo de Navidad draws on 22 December 2018, in time for you to have a very Merry Christmas.

El Gordo de Navidad Spanish Christmas Raffle

It’s no secret that Spaniards love to play the lottery and with the help of you too can be part of the El Gordo de Navidad festivities!

Here’s everything you need to know about this amazing Spanish Christmas Raffle: 

What is the raffle actually called?

The Spanish Christmas Raffle goes by numerous names - Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad, Lotería de Navidad, El Gordo, Spanish Christmas Raffle and even The Fat One.

Lotería de Navidad simply translates to Christmas Raffle.

El Gordo is actually the name of the top tier prize, the jackpot, not the draw as a whole. The term El Gordo means "the fat one", the nickname is, of course, a reference to the massive prize pool.

Spanish Christmas Raffle History

The first Lotería de Navidad’s draw took place in December 1812 in the city of Cadiz. The raffle was created with the hopes of increasing state revenue for the public tax authority and has since been organized by the Spanish Public Administration.

In 1814 the draw took place in Madrid which has become the centre for Spanish National Lottery draws.

The Spanish Christmas El Gordo Lottery numbers are drawn in a special way, much different than any other lottery in the world: students from the San Ildefonso School draw the results and sing them aloud to the public at the Lotería Nacional Hall of Madrid!

The idea behind the Spanish Christmas Raffle is to spread as much wealth to as many people as possible. With a prize fund of €2.38 billion this year, there will be more than enough winners winning substantial prizes.

When does the El Gordo Christmas Raffle take place?

The El Gordo Christmas Raffle takes place on December 22, 2018, in Madrid. It takes place once a year, on December 22nd, and you can win it here at!

El Gordo de Navidad Spanish Christmas Raffle 2018 ticket

How Does It Work?

El Gordo de Navidad more like a raffle than a traditional lottery. Each ticket comes with a random five-digit number and is split into tenths. Players can decide to either buy a tenth of a ticket, known as a decimo, or a full ticket (billete).

Each ticket number is printed multiple times in what is known as a series – this is why there will be lots of players all with the same number.

When the draw takes place, there are two huge machines, called ‘bombos’, containing thousands of balls. One machine holds the numbers, and the other contains balls determining the value of the prizes.

A ball is drawn from each bombo simultaneously so that players can see whether they have matched the winning number and instantly find out how much they will receive.

The top prize, for example, is worth €4 million per billete. In this scenario, everyone who has bought one billete will win €4 million each, and there could be up to 180 separate winners of the full amount if all the tickets in the series have been sold. A player who buys one decimo rather than a bullet will win €400,000 if they land the top prize.

Loteria de Navidad, El Gordo de Navidad Why is this such a popular raffle?

Every year at Christmas, Spaniards go raffle crazy, queuing for hours to buy tickets for the famous El Gordo de Navidad Christmas Raffle and this year it is bigger than ever.

The Spanish Christmas Raffle has become a national institution in Spain, not only attracting a huge amount of ticket sales but a massive TV audience as well.

The biggest difference to a normal lottery is the level of pomp and ceremony that is synonymous with the El Gordo de Navidad. The draw takes hours to complete as children from San Ildefonso School in Madrid select the balls and sing the results.

The annual El Gordo de Navidad advert for the game has become a traditional signal that Christmas is around the corner.

One of the reasons the Spanish Christmas Raffle is so popular is that ticket holders usually enjoy success together as most players join forces, either in a work or family syndicate.

As tickets in the same series are usually distributed together to local retailers, it is common for whole communities to prosper if their numbers come up.

Who Can Buy An El Gordo de Navidad Ticket?

Anyone can play as long as they are legally old enough and there are still tickets available. You don’t even have to be Spanish or live in Spain to take part, as the game can be played online from anywhere in the world.

El Gordo de Navidad Facts and Figures

  • The prize pot for El Gordo is the biggest for any lottery in the world, standing at well over €2 billion.

    The raffle started in 1812 and has been held every year since, even during the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939.

    The odds of winning the top prize are far better than most lotteries, standing at 1 in 100,000.
  • There’s a total of 18 million tickets available.

    The draw usually lasts several hours, starting at 9 am.

    Statistically, the luckiest locations in Spain have proved to be Madrid, Andalusia, and Catalonia.
  • In terms of lucky numbers, there have been 73 times in total when El Gordo has been between 10001 and 30000.
  • In a study carried out by lottery officials in Valencia, it was found that  60% of El Gordo tickets are purchased by men and that 91% of online shoppers are younger than 57, while 84% of retail shoppers are older than 57.

As you can see, your chances of winning a prize are excellent – so make sure you buy an El Gordo de Navidad raffle ticket today!

Play El Gordo de Navidad online


This post was written by
Jason L - who has written 2956 articles
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