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The Spanish are the Europeans who play the lottery most according to a study carried out by a researcher at the University Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M).

The report findings, published by the Centre for Sociological Research (CIS), wont come as a surprise, as it isn’t an uncommon sight in Spain to see a couple or family sit together in a restaurant or a bar with not just one lottery ticket between them, but one each. This general tendency to buy tickets and share them together with family and friends explains the high consumption.

The professor of the department of Political Sciences and Sociology Garvía Roberto, author of the article “Lotteries” published by the CIS, explains that this situation began in the second half of the nineteenth century when the dismantling of the “lotto” game occurred. According to him, this produced the fact that many of the old players, accustomed to pay one or two “Reales” (the ancient currency) to buy a lottery ticket, and unable to face paying four, started to play together or in company, creating a widespread tradition which does not happen as often in other countries.

As for the motivations for playing, the qualitative and quantitative data he analysed show many similarities in all countries with people generally playing it as a hobby, for the thrill of imagining what to do with the money if they won, or simply just because it’s fun. There are many people who play for the ‘just in case’ and to avoid regret if they did not as well, while there are even those who forget to check if they have won. The report also suggested that people in Spain play, especially at Christmas, in order to be part of a social network, with Professor Garvia Roberto expressing that it “strengthens ties of friendship, kinship and personal confidence.”

According to some surveys, Spaniards spend between 3 and 4 euros per capita on lottery surcharge on tickets as well. “. These are tickets sold from people who belong to local associations and organizations that are charity or non profit. When buying lottery tickets from these people, there is a surcharge to the normal ticket price.

The report found that if this money is multiplied by the Spanish population above 18 years old it results in about 120 million euros a year, which go directly to the accounts of these small associations, which, according to the researcher, survive by selling lottery tickets.

Christmas Lottery, El Niño, the Primitiva, the El Gordo, the ONCE, the Euro Millions make up the lottery market in Spain which represents around 1.5% of GDP, putting it among the countries with highest per capita consumption in the world.

Roberto Garvía has focused on studying the lottery for more than ten years, he has published the book “History of Lotteries in Spain” and runs a research work in the Laureano Figuerola Institute of the UC3M on this topic, funded by Loterías y Apuestas del Estado and the firm STL .

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