Spain draws $3.8 billion 'Fat One' Christmas lottery

Lottery kiosk owners Olivia Muina and her son Javier Castroverde celebrate selling the winning number of the biggest prize of Spain's Christmas "El Gordo" lottery.
Lottery kiosk owners Olivia Muina and her son Javier Castroverde celebrate selling the winning number of the biggest prize of Spain's Christmas "El Gordo" lottery.PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (REUTERS) - Spain's El Gordo (the Fat One), the world's largest lottery jackpot with prizes totalling more than €2.4 billion (S$3.8 billion), was scooped up by ticket holders across the country on Friday (Dec 22).

The grand draw, a huge annual tradition in Spain dating back to 1812, is made shortly before Christmas and is picked by school children, who pull wooden balls out of two large revolving spheres and then sing the corresponding numbers written on each ball.

The "Fat One" itself, or the final winning number, is potentially worth €680 million, though this prize is spread across thousands of tickets.

The lottery tickets are sold in official kiosks across Spain and local bars and shops often sell "decimos", the smallest ticket, which costs €20 and gives the buyer of that individual ticket just a fraction of the prize.

Many people buy tickets in groups and companies, local bars or associations often offer tickets to staff and customers. On the day of the draw, people huddle around television sets to in the hope of hearing their number sung out.

The lottery's complex rules - which allow for multiple purchases of the same lottery number - mean it is not yet clear how the winnings will be distributed.