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ALMERIA CELEBRATES EL GORDO DE NAVIDAD LOTTERY WINThe Andalusian province of Almeria in Spain is celebrating after selling the winning ticket for the El Gordo de Navidad Lottery.This year’s much anticipated draw took place on December 22 and the First Prize lucky winning five-digit number was 79140. As is tradition the winning numbers were sung by children from San Ildefonso school at Madrid’s Teatro Real opera house.The top El Gordo de Navidad prize is only 400,000 euros but each number in the lottery is divided into ten identical segments (décimo) so there are 1600 tickets with that lucky number.Those holding winning El Gordo de Navidad tickets were able to collect their winnings from as early as Tuesday afternoon. By 1pm the Roquetas lottery outlet that sold the winning number found itself overflowing with people who had come to join in the celebrations.Many players buy even smaller stakes to increase their chances of winning something. Unseasonal weather and the election campaign had boosted lottery sales this year. They’d already been going through the roof anyway since the release of the Justino television advertisement of the Spanish Christmas Lottery.Some first prize winning El Gordo de Navidad tickets had been sold to tourists from Malaga and the Canary Islands. Roquetas lottery outlet manager José Martín said he’d sold 346 décimos at the sales window, while another 800 were purchased by a high school in Laujar de Andarax, in the Alpujarra area of Almería. According to principal David Ortiz, the school then resold 784 décimos throughout the town to fund the older students’ end-of-year trip.Research last year showed that the Spanish play lotteries more than any other country.It’s a welcome win for the province of Almeria which has an unemployment rate of 31 percent, much higher than the national average. Mayor Gabriel Amat said, “it’s very important for the town, especially in the difficult times we’ve been facing.”The second prize of El Gordo de Navidad was worth €1.25 million with winners in Seville, Alicante, Logroño, Mora (Toledo), Córdoba and Granada.