Life & Leisure

Effects of Covid-19 felt in Spain’s Christmas lottery

By Jesús Lozano

Madrid, Dec 20 (efe-epa).- The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of life in Spain and the special Christmas lottery, which has been held uninterrupted for more than 200 years, is no exception.

The winning numbers will be read out by schoolchildren at Madrid’s Royal Theater on 22 December as is tradition but it will go ahead without the audience of people eagerly waiting to see if they have won El Gordo (The Fat One), the maximum prize on offer.

Ticket sales are also set to drop this year even though online sales have offered an alternative to joining the traditional lines of people that wind outside the state-run lottery shops across the country.

This year, the lottery ran the motto “sharing as always, sharing like never before” in a nod to the tendency of families, friends and coworkers buying tickets with the same numbers as well as the difficult economic situation brought about by the pandemic.

This year’s Spanish lottery payout is set to be around 2.4 billion euros split between different prize categories, the top being El Gordo.

A full ticket for El Gordo is worth 200 euros but most participants buy a tenth of that, a “decimo,” which sets them back 20 euros.

Should their winning number come up for the top prize, they can win 400,000 euros with a 20 euro buy-in.

Prize money over 40,000 euros is subject to a 20% tax.

In 2019, lottery ticket sales rose by 3% to top 2.9 billion euros, according to the state-owned lottery and gambling company.

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