Christmas Lottery. Curiosities You Might Not Have Known

Alessandro Iraggi 22/12/2023 6 min 0 Comments
Instituto Hispánico de Murcia - Christmas Lottery. Curiosities You Might Not Have Known

The biggest prize of this draw is known as “El Gordo,” which since 2011 has been valued at €400,000 per ticket.

From the first weeks of July, the numbers can already be found in lottery offices across the country.

So, if you’ve come to Murcia to learn Spanish, you also have to go to an office to try your luck.

What is its origin?

We go back to the year 1811 when the Courts of Cádiz established the Lottery game to raise money to fight against the French. It was all the idea of the Sevillian Ciriaco González Carvajal, a politician from Seville.

It was the following year when the first draw was held under the name of Modern Lottery to differentiate it from the Primitive Lottery created in 1763 by the Marqués de Esquilache.

The first draw wasn’t held throughout Spain. It spread across the country as Napoleon’s troops withdrew in the War of Independence, and in 1814, it was established in Madrid, at the Teatro Real, where it currently takes place.

The draw continued to award prizes even during the Civil War. Since Spain was divided into two, two separate draws were conducted.

When was the first draw on television?

The first televised draw was in 1957, and since 1974, all draws have been computerized. The winning number for the Gordo was 03604; its price was 40 reales, and the prize was 8000 pesetas.

Instituto Hispanico de Murcia - Loteria de Navidad. Curiosidades que quiza desconocias (2)

Who are the lucky boys and girls?

The boys and girls of the College of San Ildefonso have been in charge of singing the National Lottery numbers since March 9, 1771.

In 1984, the school became coeducational, and it was when we also started seeing girls in the draw.

Why is the first prize called the “Gordo” of the Lottery?

In the 18th century, the “Lucky Dwarf” or “Lottery Fanatic” was created as a drawing made from lottery balls to encourage participation in this game of chance.

This character appeared everywhere in books and prints. “The ‘Lucky Dwarf’s luck’ became a proverbial phrase,” stated La Ilustración Española y Americana in 1902.

Furthermore, it gave its name to a newspaper published on March 3, 1851, and a sonnet dedicated to lottery players appeared.

The “fat” appearance of the character is why we now call it the “Gordo” of the Christmas Lottery. Additionally, the prize is currently €400,000, which is a large sum.

Curiosities of the Christmas Lottery

  • Doña Manolita is the office that has distributed the most prizes in the history of this draw. Founded in 1904 and located in Madrid.
  • In 1837, two prizes with the same amount were distributed.
  • There’s a rumor that the number 00000 is reserved for the King, but it’s not true because you can buy it at any office.
  • This draw is so well-known that it has worldwide recognition. Prizes have fallen in Australia, Argentina, or the Netherlands.
  • The draw initially started with 4 series, and currently, there are 172 series.
  • Only two numbers have repeated in this draw. The 15,640 in the years 1956 and 1978 and the 20,297 that was drawn in 1903 and 2006.
  • In 2013, one of the spectators at the draw in the Teatro Real in Madrid won a €125,000 prize live.
  • The least fortunate ending is 1 because it has only come out 8 times, and the luckiest ending is 5 since it has been victorious 32 times.

Where has the “Gordo” of the Christmas Lottery fallen the most?

Well, in Madrid, it has fallen more than 80 times since the Doña Manolita office is the most famous and where most people go to buy their tickets.

Instituto Hispanico de Murcia - Loteria de Navidad. Curiosidades que quiza desconocias

The most heard phrases on the day of the Christmas Lottery

Although they are not popular sayings, you have surely heard these phrases related to the Christmas draw countless times.

  1. “For one year I didn’t play.”
  2. “It has been widely distributed.”
  3. “To cover holes.”
  4. “I saw it hanging but didn’t pick it.”
  5. “Just by one number, I didn’t win.”
  6. “I already have for the Niño draw.”
  7. “Has the Gordo been drawn yet?”
  8. “Where is my €21 envelope?”
  9. “At least, we have health.”
  10. “Everyone is inside.”

Christmas Lottery Ad

The first ads were aired in 1958, but in 1998 with the “Lucky Bald Guy of the Lottery,” it gained great popularity. Clive Arrindel was the one who announced the Christmases and spread luck by blowing magic through the city.

Today, this ad is one of the most anticipated by Spaniards when Christmas arrives.

Lottery Prizes

The numbers are divided into the following categories:

  • Tenth: it’s the tenth part of a ticket as its name indicates, it’s what we can buy in lottery offices and costs €20.
  • Ticket: it consists of ten tenths of the same number or series. A ticket costs €200.
  • Series: it’s the total of tickets that have the same number. Each series has 100,000 tickets. A series costs €20,000,000.

Christmas raffle


These are the last two numbers of the first, second, and third prizes. It’s awarded €100 per tenth.


These are all the numbers drawn that don’t correspond to any of the big prizes. It distributes €100 per tenth. According to the RAE, its definition is “set of numbers that are awarded with the minimum value in the national lottery.”


It’s the last digit of the “Gordo.” Any tenth that ends in that digit receives the amount bet, €20 per tenth.

The prizes are as follows:

  • 1st prize or the ‘Gordo’: €4,000,000
  • 2nd prize: €1,250,000
  • 3rd prize: €500,000
  • 4th prize: two prizes of €200,000
  • 5th prize: eight prizes of €60,000
  • Pedrea: 1,794 prizes of €1,000
  • Numbers preceding and following the 1st prize: two prizes of €20,000
  • Numbers preceding and following the 2nd prize: two prizes of €12,500
  • Numbers preceding and following the 3rd prize: two prizes of €9,600
  • Hundreds of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize: 297 prizes of €1,000
  • Hundreds of the 4th prize: 198 prizes of €1,000
  • Last two digits of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes: 297 prizes of €1,000
  • Refund: 9,999 prizes of €200

Keep in mind that you have to divide by 10 to calculate the money for each tenth. Also, don’t forget that the Tax Agency keeps 20% of the prize. This applies when the prizes are equal to or greater than €40,000.

If you have come to Murcia this year, you can’t leave without buying lottery tickets, and… may luck be on your side!

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WRITTEN BY Alessandro Iraggi

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