What is the El Gordo de Navidad Raffle?

Lottery games have been popular throughout the world for hundreds of years, but the popularity of specific lottery games has a tendency to wax and wane. One game, though, has stood the test of time: El Gordo De Navidad.

What is El Gordo Navidad?

El Gordo de Navidad has many names, “the Fat One”, the Spanish Christmas raffle and “Loteria de Navidad”, but it doesn't matter what you call it, because this yearly raffle does not attract people because of its name. It's the massive jackpot that gets people coming back year after year.

Related Article: How does El Gordo de Navidad work?

The El Gordo raffle started over 200 years ago in 1812 and has been held annually, even during the Spanish Civil war.

It’s considered as the world’s biggest lottery and in 2018, it had a staggering jackpot amount of €2.38 billion in prizes available to players. It sends Spain into a frenzy as well as the rest of the world because of the attractive winning odds starting at 1:6:5 for a prize. Not to mention, the odds of winning the top prize are much better than most lotteries, standing at 1 in 100,000. As a result of this, it has become a national institution in Spain, attracting huge TV audiences and participants.

El Gordo de Navidad is otherwise known as the Spanish Christmas raffle and, as the nickname suggests, it is drawn every year on December 22nd. The raffle is part of the holiday season in Spain. Now, its popularity has spread around the world. Since the website for the raffle opened in 1996, people from over 140 countries have taken part in the annual Christmas Raffle.

Why is it so popular?

It differs from a normal lottery because of the level of pomp and ceremony afforded to this exciting event. Draws take hours to complete and children from the San Ildefonso School in Madrid select the balls and sing the results.

Another reason as to why there is so much hype surrounding this draw is the atmosphere of celebration and the fact that ticket holders usually enjoy success together. It’s not uncommon for players to join forces, either with family or work colleagues, to share the costs of taking part.

El Gordo de Navidad

How are the numbers drawn?

100,000 small wooden balls each have a 5-digit raffle ticket number printed on them with a laser. They are lasered onto the balls instead of being painted on because it’s believed that the paint influences the weight, therefore affecting how the balls are drawn. The balls are all 19mm in diameter and they each weight 3 grams.

There are two huge machines called “bombos” that draw the numbers. They contain the thousands of balls. One machine contains the raffles numbers, and the other contains the balls determining the value of the prizes. Both the raffle numbers and the balls are drawn simultaneously so players can see the winning number they’ve matched and exactly how much they have won.

Even though online lottery players can buy Spanish Christmas Raffle tickets months before the time – tickets are subject to availability – So don't buy your ticket too late or all the lottery tickets can be sold out!

If you’re interested in having a go at winning your share of the world’s biggest lottery, buy El Gordo de Navidad tickets online, and remember the slogan, "The greatest prize is to share it."

Here’s to you winning a huge El Gordo de Navidad prize and enjoying the gift of sharing this Christmas.

Good luck - Bon Sort - Buena Suerte!

This article forms part of our El Gordo de Navidad Resource Centre.

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

Posted by Zeljko (25/07/2018)

Thanks for the info

Posted by Zeljko (29/07/2018)

Thanks for info. Now I finally understand this lottery.

Posted by Leyla (10/12/2021)

Good news

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