Millions of people in Spain were waiting with baited breath as the winners were drawn in the annual Christmas lottery, known as El Gordo (The Fat One), in a ceremony that began on Tuesday morning.
Numerous prizes, large and small, were available to be won during the the event, which lasts up to four hours.
The biggest prize is worth 4 million euros (4.9 million dollars) and some 2.4 billion euros is to be paid out in total. The big prize is paid out 172 times, as each of the 100,000 numbers is sold that many times.
It was held in Madrid’s Teatro Real opera house, without an audience this year due to the pandemic.
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The lottery, launched 200 years ago, is said to be the oldest worldwide and is also known as the world’s largest raffle, given the sums involved.
It is a major event in Spain, where almost everyone buys a “decimo,” entitling them to a tenth of the prize that is drawn. The drawing of the tickets is broadcast live on television, and is watched by millions each year.
On Tuesday, as every year, the numbers were sung out by pupils from Madrid’s San Ildefonso boarding school, with the students standing at a distance from one another this year and wearing masks, which they only removed for the performance.
The drawing process involves two drums, with the larger drum containing 100,000 wooden balls with the ticket numbers. The second contains 1,800 wooden balls with the winning sums.
For every win, a ball falls from each drum into a glass bowl at the same time, one for the winning number and one for the prize.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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