As expected, tens of thousands of players rose to the occasion and purchased multiple tickets for the El Niño draw. It was held on January 6 as it is every year, and the total prize pool rose above $1 billion, more precisely €840 million. The amount is staggering but due to the rather unique prize structure of the Spanish lottery, no records were broken in terms of top jackpots. The purpose of the lottery is to award as many prizes as possible, even if this means to decrease the main prizes.
A ray of hope doing some dark times
Spain is going through a rather difficult time, with unemployment sky high and the recession showing no signs that it is about to end. This explains why the enthusiasm of lottery players was higher than in the previous years, and the fact that the top jackpots stands at €200,000 didn’t have a deterring effect on them. The price of one ticket is €20, which is definitely more than what a regular ticket cost but the El Nino draw is truly a unique event and players consider that it is worth paying this amount for a chance to win big.
Players from all over the country share the same enthusiasm for this lottery, but the regions where the top prizes were won are Madrid, Murcia, Alicante, Leon and Tenerife. As always, the most numerous players were the ones living in the capital city and immediately after the draw concluded, large crowds were cheering outside ticket offices. The phenomenon is unique because unlike other countries where the interest manifests only in media, Spanish players turn the El Niño draw into a fiesta.
Desperate times require desperate measures
Something that would’ve been regarded as unacceptable a couple of years ago is now a reality that El Niño lottery players need to accept. Due to the fact that the economy is struggling and the government desperately needs more money to avoid bankruptcy, a tax has been imposed on lottery winnings. Not all prizes are subject to taxation but anyone who wins an amount above €2500 will have to pay 20% of it as a tax. The law became active on January 1, 2013 and will affect all Spanish lotteries from now on.
Nothing can hurt the enthusiasm of those who won one of the 200 winning numbers, not even the fact that they’ll have to concede a loss of €40,000. When interviewed by the local media, the players confirmed the fact that for many the lottery represented the only chance of turning things around. Those who won the jackpot regard it as a godsend and say that despite taxation this amount will help them overcome a string of pressing matters. The first prize ticket was 30875 while the second prize ticket number was 46674.