Last week we told you about the Andalusian province of Almeria in Spain which was celebrating after it sold the first prize winning ticket for the El Gordo de Navidad – the popuar Spanish Christmas lottery, but it isn’t the only part of the country which is experiencing Christmas joy.
Residents of a town on Spain’s southern coast were enjoying popping corks on bottles of champagne after knowing that €640 million from the huge cash pot of more than €2 billion would go to residents of Roquetas de Mar, in the province of Almeria. The top prize in the game was €400,000, a jackpot which was won by 1,600 people, including some of the residents of the beach town.
“I went to change money at the bank and they told me that El Gordo was won here,” said José Martín, the town’s main lottery vendor, who then realised that his outlet was most likely one of the ones that sold the Christmas lottery’s biggest and most famous prize. The winning tickets were spread widely around the country after record lottery sales were made this year, according to Mr Martín, and not all of them went to the some 91,000 residents of Roquetas de Mar; “they were well spread out. Some went to tourists, and a few went to the Canary Islands,” echoing research which last year showed that the Spanish play lottery games more than any other nationality.
Around half of the tickets purchased in Roquetas de Mar were bought by a high school and sold off as part of a fundraiser for a school trip to Italy, and the mayor said that almost everyone has a share in a ticket in one way or another. “People are going crazy, nobody can believe it. The money went to down to earth people who work hard and really need it.”
On Tuesday December 22, many of the winners from the small town were celebrating their winnings in front of Mr Martín’s store, including a refugee from Senegal who travelled to Europe by boat and now has €400,000 to his name. The winner, called Ngagne, arrived in Spain as a refugee in 2007, and told a Spanish newspaper that together with his wife he does not often have even €5 to spend per day.
After being rescued from his voyage by boat in 2007, Ngagne and his wife were taken to the island of Tenerife, before moving to Roquetas de Mar. “There were 75 people on that boat,” he said, holding back tears. “I want to give thanks to Spaniards and the Spanish government for rescuing me when I was in the sea.”
Next to look out for is the ‘El Niño’ lottery, which is held every year in Spain on January 6th. For your chance to win, don’t wait and purchase your lottery tickets online now at Lottery24.com.