Spanish beach town hits jackpot with 'El Gordo' lottery

MADRID -- With wide smiles, elated lottery winners popped corks on bottles of sparkling wine Tuesday in the southern beach city of Roquetas de Mar, where tickets bearing the top prize number in Spain's Christmas lottery were sold.

See Full Article

The winning number -- 79140 -- appeared on 1,600 tickets in the lottery known as El Gordo (The Fat One), with each ticket holder winning 400,000 euros ($434,800).

The lottery has taken on special importance in recent years as Spain struggled through a real estate bubble and the European debt crisis. The annual event Dec. 22 unites the country as millions watch the hours-long TV program to find out if they are among the lucky ones.

El Gordo tickets are sold in many lottery sites around the country and shell out different winnings -- but this year the top tickets were sold entirely by one lottery agent. Lottery officials say that can happen because bettors don't pick their own numbers.

The mayor of Roquetas de Mar called the win great news for his city in the province of Almeria, which has an unemployment rate of 31 per cent -- much higher than Spain's national 21 per cent jobless rate. Smiling winners showed up at the lottery agency and cracked open the bubbly.

"I'm really happy and I congratulate all the winners," Mayor Gabriel Amat told the Voz de Almeria newspaper. "It's very important for the town, especially in the difficult times we've been facing."

Spain established its national lottery as a charity in 1763, during the reign of King Carlos III, but its objective gradually shifted toward filling state coffers. El Gordo itself dates from 1812.

Other lotteries have larger individual top prizes but El Gordo is ranked as the world's richest, handing out a total of 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) this year in millions of prizes.

The standard ticket costs 20 euros ($22). People traditionally chip in together and buy shares of several or many tickets among friends, families or workmates in one of the most popular Christmas customs in Spain. Queues form outside lottery stores weeks ahead of the draw.

The prize ticket numbers are sung out by pupils of Madrid's Saint Ildefonso School in a nationally televised event from the city's Teatro Real opera house.

Organizers said ticket sales totalled 2.5 billion euros this year, up 4.5 per cent from last year.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Nunavut hopes first legal beer and wine store might curb boozing

    Canada News CTV News
    IQALUIT, Nunavut -- After almost two decades of debate, the capital of Nunavut is hoping to reduce booze-related social problems by opening the territory's first retail store for beer and wine. "We need to take steps to help people change their behaviour towards alcohol," said Dan Carlson, Nunavut's assistant deputy finance minister. Source
  • Justin Trudeau, Irish leader to march in Montreal Pride parade

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is meeting Ireland’s head of government in Montreal today as the Irish leader kicks off a three-day visit to Canada. Trudeau and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar began the day with a military welcome ceremony at an armoury near Mount Royal, where troops from across Canada performed an honour guard drill. Source
  • Thousands protest jailing of Hong Kong student activists

    World News CBC News
    Thousands of protesters marched through Hong Kong on Sunday in support of young activists who were sentenced to prison after a Hong Kong court overturned an earlier sentence for their roles in the massive demonstrations of 2014. Source
  • Broadway ticket-buying now easier for fans, not re-sellers

    World News CBC News
    For longtime Bruce Springsteen fan Debbie Elster, there's never been any doubt the competition to get tickets for his upcoming Broadway shows is going to be fierce. But she's feeling a little more hopeful, thanks to a new online verification system for ticket-buying that aims to keep more tickets in the hands of fans rather than re-sellers who seemingly snap them up and put them on the market, often for several times the face value. Source
  • Toronto man who disappeared 3 years ago surfaces on Interpol list of feared ISIS suicide bombers

    Canada News CBC News
    A Toronto man is named on an Interpol list of individuals suspected to belong to an ISIS suicide brigade, according to a Canadian expert on radicalization and foreign fighters. Tabirul Hasib first disappeared five years ago when he booked a flight to the Middle East along with three other Toronto men, Abdul Malik and two others — Nur and Adib — whose last names are not known. Source
  • Over 100 gas tanks found as extremists in Spain planned massive attack [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    BARCELONA, Spain — Police put up scores of roadblocks across northeast Spain on Sunday in hopes of capturing a fugitive suspect from the 12-member Islamic extremist cell that staged two vehicle attacks and plotted much deadlier carnage using explosives favoured by Islamic State militants. Source
  • Police say 39 people detained over neo-Nazi march in Berlin

    World News CTV News
    Berlin police say 39 people were detained Saturday in connection with a far-right march commemorating the 30th anniversary of the death of high-ranking Nazi official Rudolf Hess. More than 500 neo-Nazis had attempted to march to the site of the former prison in Berlin's western district of Spandau where Hess died in 1987, but were blocked by left-wing groups and local residents. Source
  • Imam among 12 suspects in Spain vehicle attacks

    World News CBC News
    Dignitaries attended a church service in Barcelona on Sunday for victims of the vehicle attacks in Spain as investigators reported suspicions that 12 members of a terror cell were involved in the plot. King Felipe VI of Spain and his wife, Letizia, arrived for the mass at Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, along with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont. Source
  • Syria's Assad rejects security co-operation with the West

    World News CTV News
    DAMASCUS, Syria -- Syrian President Bashar Assad has blasted the West, rejecting any security co-operation or reopening of embassies in Damascus before those countries cut relations with opposition groups. Assad's defiant comments on Sunday come at a time when his troops are gaining ground around the country and many countries have ceased calling for him to step down. Source
  • From oilsands mine to wetland: Is Syncrude's reclamation experiment working?

    Canada News CBC News
    Like a huge cookie cutter, the excavator lifted a frozen slice of wetland to reveal centuries-old layers of peat and soil. Eric Girard had no idea at the time whether the science experiment would even work, whether Syncrude could actually transplant that piece of wetland to a former oilsands mine and have it regrow. Source