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Celebrity News

80 families in Spain share how El Gordo win saved their town after recession


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Families in Spain are sharing how the country’s national lottery has been a “huge lifeline” for improving a community’s local economy.

Millions of households tune into the “El Gordo”, a popular lottery which takes place every year over Christmas.

Billions of euros worth of cash prizes will be handed out after children from Madrid’s San Ildefonso school reveal the winning numbers later tonight.

Residents of Sodeto in the northeast of Spain distributed tickets among each other 11 years ago and happened to pick the winning number which changed their lives.

People celebrate after winning the first prize of Spain's Christmas lottery named "El Gordo" (Fat One) in Granen, in Manise, near Valencia, on December 22, 2012

Whole communities are able to win large sums of money


On December 22, 2012, the area was still reeling from the ramifications of the Great Recession but the lottery was able to save Sodeto from further deprivation.

Mayor José Manuel spoke with Euro News about winning the national lottery which resulted in him being €400,000 richer.

When TV cameras approached one villager to ask about winning the El Gordo to ask what he will buy, they replied: “A chisel”.

The Mayor recalled: “To this day we laugh about his answer. Everyone thought it must be a luxury brand chisel, but it’s really a farming tool. Everyone’s dream in those days was to work.

“When you win the lottery everyone thinks you’re going to the Caribbean, but that wasn’t the case here, everyone was obsessed with their profession and being able to work. There is no ostentation of luxury, but the quality of life has improved.

At the time of winning the lottery, Sodeto was facing its worst crisis due to families struggling to make ends meet and businesses failing.

However, the day after the announcement of the win, outside businesses started advertising luxury goods in the town.

Banks were more likely lend the farmers money after many of them became noticeably richer overnight.

School children picking the winning numbers

School children pick out the winning numbers in Madrid every year just before Christmas


Rosa Pons, 67, described the El Gordo win as a “huge lifeline” for the community which helped pulled it out of the recession. On finding out the town had won, she said: “I ran to the village square with a megaphone to shout it out.

“We all hugged each other, cried, laughed… We didn’t know the exact amount we had won, but we knew we had won something.”

The person who won the least took home €120,000 while some families end up close to million from El Gordo.

What is the El Gordo?

Translated as the “The Big One”, this festive lottery is set to distribute a total of €2.6billion (£2.22billion” in prizes this Christmas. The majority of prizes will be smaller amounts of cash but holders of 20-euro tickets with the top-prize number will receive €400,000 euros (£346,000).

Winning numbers are picked by school children from Madrid’s Teatro Real open house with sharing tickets, known as “decimos” being a popular Christmas tradition. While other lotteries have bigger individual cash prizes, Spain’s El Gordo is ranked as the richest due to the total money involved.

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Written by: radioroxi

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