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EL NIÑO LOTTERY SPREADS NEW YEAR JOY IN SPAIN

Thousands of players are celebrating in Spain after winning prizes in the ‘El Niño’ lottery draw held on Tuesday January 6. The top prize of €200,000 was won by 400 tickets sold in the Leganes area of Madrid.

The ‘El Niño’ (The Child) Lottery is held every year on January 6 which is the Feast of the Epiphany. This is a big celebration in Spain and refers to the baby Jesus, who according to tradition was visited this day by three wise men bearing gifts.

The prize pool for the El Niño draw was divided among thousands of ticket-holders. This reduces the size of the jackpot but means more winners throughout the country. That’s welcomed because Spain has gone through two recessions in recent years and currently has a high level of unemployment.

Despite the economic problems, the Spanish do love their lotteries. The El Niño draw took place just a couple of weeks after Spain held the draw for its most lucrative lottery ‘El Gordo de Navidad’ (The Spanish Christmas Lottery), which saw €2.5 billion Euros of prize money distributed.

Ticket sales for the ‘El Niño’ lottery were up 6.7 percent on last year’s total. That’s the biggest increase since 2007. Only the city of Ceuta in North Africa saw a decrease in sales.

The results of the ‘El Niño’ lottery have certainly caused plenty of excitement in Leganes, a southwest Madrid working-class suburb. The winning number for the top prize was 55487 and 400 tickets, each worth €200,000 were all sold in that area.

Lottery seller Gustavo Fernandez saw his shop sell tickets that won €80 million for the “El Niño” draw. “Horns are blowing, the phone doesn’t stop ringing, it’s crazy and a huge, huge joy because it has all been sold among neighbours in a very working class district,” he said.

Also celebrating are the provinces of Albacete, Almeria and Barcelona, who all won lesser prizes in the “El Niño” draw. It’s good news for the Spanish Government too, because all winnings over €2,500 are subject to 20% tax.

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