Whether you have bought a €20 ticket or a €200 ticket at one of the many lottery administrations available for the next El Gordo de Navidad draw, you may be wondering what actually happens during the draw which takes place every year on 22nd December. The following guide helps to explain how the famous annual lottery takes place:
Each year, the draw begins promptly at 9am, the day when citizens of Spain wake up hours before full of excitement and anticipation that this could be the year they win ‘El Gordo’ (‘the fat one’) – the top prize in Loteria de Navidad. Groups of people from towns and cities across the country gather to watch the draw on TV screens as the multi-hour event unfolds. Some even take to the streets in special and unique ways to celebrate the big draw.
Cities and provinces will have been preparing for the draw for months, and all eyes turn to Madrid on the day of the draw. The draw itself takes place at Teatro Real in Madrid, and previously at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos de Madrid in 2010 and 2011.
The event is broadcast live on television in Spain, but can also be viewed in real time online around the world thanks to the available live streams. During the draw, you’ll see two huge golden spherical drums on the stage, one containing wooden balls with all five-digit numbers ranging from 00000 to 99999, and the other containing balls that reveal the corresponding prize amount for that number.
40 children from the local San Ildefonso school, aged between 8 and 14, have the opportunity to reveal the winning numbers. The children take turns (in pairs) to sing the winning number and the corresponding prize amount, all of which is broadcast live to the millions of players that tune in every year.
The event in its entirety can take over three hours to finish, due to the large number of prizes available. The reveal of the jackpot winning number (‘El Gordo’) at some point during the show is the star moment that everyone waits to see.
After the last number has been drawn, you might be one of the lucky winners eager to collect your prize and check your numbers. If you are lucky enough to win a prize, you can collect prizes up to the value of €2,500 at administrations throughout Spain. For prizes worth more than €2,500, it is possible to collect them in certain banks, including BBVA, Banco Popular, Santander, Sabadell and CaixaBank. Alternatively, you can contact Loterías y Apuestas del Estado, the official Spanish lottery organisation, online or by phone, and all prizes must be claimed within a maximum of three months after the draw.