El Gordo: Playing The Spanish Christmas Lottery In Germany

El Gordo – for a long time this name has only electrified Spain. For some years now the phenomenon has been spreading in Europe and Germany is also infected. It is about the Spanish Christmas lottery. El Gordo is the dream come true of winning millions , which makes you rich in one fell swoop. Why does all of Europe want to play El Gordo? Quite simply: Every year the Christmas lottery pays out a total amount of several billions.

Despite the popularity there are still misunderstandings and surprises. One more reason to get to the bottom of the lottery and experience El Gordo. Because already with the designation laymen are wrong. El Gordo is not the lottery, but simply stands for the main prize.

Sorteo de Navidad: A lottery with 200 years of tradition

Electrifying – this is the best way to describe the hype surrounding the Spanish Christmas lottery. What in Germany is only briefly known as El Gordo is actually called Sorteo de Navidad or Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad. The Spanish Christmas lottery is therefore a special drawing of the state lottery company Loterías y Apuestas del Estado, which normally draws lottery numbers twice a week. How does the Spanish Christmas lottery work?

What makes the Christmas lottery so popular is a mixture of – compared to other lotteries – high El Gordo odds and total winnings. In the past years this was with over two billion euro.

Entstanden is the Spanish Weihnachtslotterie already in the 19. century. More exactly said the Lotterie emerges for the first time 1812 and is thereby already more than 200 years old. Other lotteries can only pack in view of such traditions.

Sorteo de Navidad since 1892

As Sorteo de Navidad – and thus the question is answered, what is the name of the Spanish Christmas lottery – this became however only substantially later well-known. This name only appeared in 1892 – 80 years after the first drawing. Due to its age, the Sorteo de Navidad is today the second oldest lottery in the world. Even the Spanish Civil War did not lead to any significant long lasting interruption.

By the way, children play a special role in the Spanish Christmas lottery – especially those of the CEIP San Ildefonso. Members of the school sing the winning numbers. Until 1984 this privilege was reserved for boys.

The lottery was organized in 2010 and 2011 at the Palacio Municipal de Congresos de Madrid. From here the responsible persons moved the draw 2012 to Teatro Real de Madrid.

Importance in Spain and growing interest in Europe

What is the Spanish Christmas lottery and what makes it special? In Spain the drawing of the lottery is the event and a spectacle – just like buying tickets. Long queues form in front of the ticket offices. The prospect of a grand prize is electrifying. Many Spaniards play the lottery in lottery pools with ten tickets or even smaller denominations. Many clubs also use the Spanish Christmas lottery to improve their club coffers. What attracts them is the chance to win one of the main prizes.

The special system behind the draw also ensures great interest in playing El Gordo in the EU. European lottery players have discovered the lottery for themselves and access the tickets every year. Where to buy the El Gordo ticket?

El Gordo: The Million Lottery of the Christmas Lottery

What is El Gordo? It’s about the Spanish Christmas lottery! Right – and wrong. If the name El Gordo falls, lottery fans automatically think of the lottery. But: El Gordo is translated simply as “the fat one”. What stands as a synonym for the whole Spanish Christmas lottery is actually only the main prize.

Why does the jackpot have this meaning? At first glance, El Gordo is actually unspectacular. If the lot number for the main prize is drawn, its owner can look forward to four million euros. A really big jackpot in Lotto 6 out of 49 or Eurojackpot is clearly worth more.

What makes the “big one” so special is the special game system. The chances of winning are – compared to other lotteries – almost fantastic. Example Lotto 6 from 49: Here is the chance of winning 1:139.838.160. The Spanish Christmas lottery looks completely different with a winning chance of 1:100,000.

El Gordo exists hundreds of times

The probability calculation should only be part of the explanation. And indeed a small inconsistency is noticeable on closer inspection. Although El Gordo is actually “only” worth four million Euros, an impressive jackpot of several hundred million Euros was paid out in 2017. How can this happen? Behind this is the extraordinary lottery system. There were only 100,000 ticket numbers – but 17,000,000 tickets (tickets).

Background: The ticket numbers did not exist only once, but series of the individual tickets were printed. The number of series varies from year to year. In 2017 there were a total of 17,000,000 lots – corresponding to 170 series.

The game system of the Spanish Christmas lottery

How does El Gordo work? With the size of the jackpot and its traditions, the lottery is something special. The game system can also be described as unusual. If you play the lottery in this country now and then, you know the system: tick the numbers, give the betting ticket with the tips and hopefully win – done. The Spanish lottery is based on a completely different principle.

The game system is based on lots – the so-called Billetes. Numbered from 00000 to 99999, the whole lots are printed on perforated paper sheets. These sheets have the size of a DIN A4 page. Why all this?

If you want to play the Spanish Christmas lottery, you don’t have to buy a whole lottery ticket. Each ticket can – and here the perforations come into play – be divided into ten sections. These Décimo can then be played separately. Why so much effort for a lottery? A whole ticket costs 200 euros in Spain – which is relatively expensive. With the Décimo, playing El Gordo is not only cheaper. So even whole lottery syndicates can afford a ticket. If a ticket wins, the winning amount is distributed to the individual Décimos.

All tickets or tenths?

The Christmas lottery plays 100,000 ticket numbers, which are played in dozens of series. The number of series changes again and again. The tenth lottery method is common practice in Spain for tickets purchased at points of sale.

Background: The division into Décimos means that the costs are lower. A fact that of course also applies to lottery players in Europe and from Germany. At the same time, playing the denominated tickets has a further advantage: Players can secure several ticket numbers for the price of a whole ticket. Instead of betting on only one number, 10 winning numbers have the chance to play El Gordo 2019.

Tenth lots – that speaks for it:

  • single lots cost 200 Euro
  • tenthless costs only 20 Euro
  • tenthless costs only 20 Euro

Since the lots for the Spanish Christmas lottery are also distributed via the Internet, further denominations of the lots have established themselves. Players can play meanwhile half tickets or fifth tickets exactly the same like 1/20 tickets or a 1/100 denomination.

El Gordo, Pedrea and CO.: The profit classes of the Weihnachtslotterie

The El Gordo profit classes are the actual Clou at the Spanish Lotterie. The fat one brings the lucky winners 4 million euros each – based on a whole ticket. Those lottery participants whose ticket numbers are subsequently drawn still receive 1.25 million euros as “consolation”. The third drawn ticket number is still worth 500,000 euros after all.

El Gordo profit classes after the third price:

  • 4. Price for each two ticket numbers at a value of 200,000 euros
  • 5. Price for each eight ticket numbers at a value of 60,000 euros

Under in the Spanish Lotterie the Pedrea are drawn. The whole thing can be translated with hailstorms. At first glance this is a curious title. But: In view of the fact that this Lotteriepreis several thousand times is assigned, the designation might be then nevertheless comprehensible.

Besides the drawn lot numbers can be pleased in the Spanish Weihnachtslotterie also owners of those tickets, which lie in direct neighbourhood. Described as Aproximación, there are:

  • 20.000 Euro for predecessors and successors of El Gordo
  • 12.500 Euro for predecessors and successors of 2nd prize
  • 9.600 Euro for predecessors and successors of 3rd prize

In addition, the lottery will pay prizes if certain numbers on the purchased ticket match the winning ticket numbers. The prize money here is either 1,000 Euros or a refund of the sales price for the ticket.

Opportunities to win: Higher than the lotto

El Gordo or the Spanish Christmas lottery play – in Germany in any case a phenomenon that has been more common for some time. One explanation is certainly to be seen in the large number of prizes.

And it is the chances of winning which speak for the Sorteo de Navidad. The reason: Many of the common lottery systems are based on the drawing of individual numbers from a defined shortage of numbers. The best way to explain this is System 6 out of 49. The numbers that are drawn do not go back to the lottery pot. Means: The probability for each individual number results from the individual probabilities.

Overview of the sequence at 6 from 49:

  • 1/49
  • 1/48
  • 1/48

This results in the following calculation (without the supernumber):

(49*48*47*47*46*45*44)/(6*5*4*3*2*1) = 13,983,816

The El Gordo odds are much easier – 1:100,000. If you buy 2 tenths, you get 1:50,000, etc. And the chance to win at all is even easier in view of the thousands of winning numbers.

The draw: A mega event in Spain

El Gordo sometimes makes whole villages rich – due to the extraordinary playing principle. In Spain, shortly before Christmas, almost the entire population is in lottery fever. To the Regularien for the Spanish Weihnachtslotterie play also the public drawing of the winning numbers belongs.

And the Lottoesellschaft makes from it an Event. Since 2012, the event has taken place at the Teatro Real de Madrid and is broadcast live on Spanish television and radio stations. Meanwhile lotto fans can also watch the draw via live streams on the Internet. The process is the same every year.

Drawing takes several hours

Others than in Germany, where the drawing of the lottery numbers is completed within a few minutes, the draw of the Sorteo de Navidad takes considerably longer. Spectators have to endure hours in front of the TV screens on 22 December. The reason for this is the special procedure. The public draw begins at 9 a.m. on time – one hour after the ticket sales stop. The linchpin of the event is two lottery drums.

One contains the numbers with all sold lots, the other contains the prices. Students of Madrider CEIP San Ildefonso are responsible for drawing lots and associated prizes.

While the children (girls or boys) carry the lots to the jury table, the lot numbers and prizes will be sung. The members of the jury check the numbers of the lot numbers and note the whole thing down. It is precisely through the Pedreas that the event takes longer and takes several hours.

Christmas lottery: Are the tickets only available in Spain?

Where to play the Spanish Christmas lottery? 4 million Euros are tempting – that’s what the highest prize money is in it. Sure: Compared to up to 90 million with the Eurojackpot this amount is “manageable”. What is tempting is the unbeatable chance of winning from 1 to 100,000 at El Gordo. Who lives in Germany and is not exactly on holiday in Spain, here a justified question arises: Where can I buy lots for El Gordo 2019 in Germany?

The discouraging news was over years that the lots (whether as a whole lot or as a tenth lot) can only be purchased in Spain. The Internet and the possibility of selling lottery tickets via the World Wide Web has changed this situation in one fell swoop.

Today, lottery enthusiasts can also play the Spanish Christmas lottery. Best of all, you can buy a ticket online from the comfort of your couch. No walk to any acceptance point or long queue, as it can be observed everywhere in Spain.

Which lots to buy online?

Thanks to the Internet and online providers such as Lottoland El Gordo can be played in Germany. And not only that: offers go far beyond the way of playing as a whole, half or tenth. On the part of the different societies in the meantime even twentieth lots or the denomination 1/100 are offered. Here the profit shrinks clearly, on the other side so much more lot numbers can be played for small money – which means a high chance of winning.

El Gordo where to play – so it goes:

  • more than 10,000 sales offices in Spain
  • lionline over special Lotto mediators

The fact that a lottery ticket number for the Spanish Christmas lottery exists several hundred times means two things: Several Spaniards can play the same “desired number”. On the other hand, there is competition for the particularly popular numbers. And here it means to be fast. Background: The lottery company does not distribute the series directly to the sales outlets. As a rule, individual numbers concentrate on specific locations. How do Spaniards find the lot number they want? The number can be entered on the Internet. The system then displays which points of sale can be used to purchase single or tenth lots.

Three examples should illustrate how this can look like:

  • Example 09507: Asturias, Barcelona, Cadiz, Cantabria, Cordoba, Girona, Rioja, Leon, Lleida, Madrid, Malaga, Murcia, Ourense
  • Example 19507: Alicante, Almeria, Asturias, Barcelona, Madrid, Pontevedra, Soria, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tarragona, Toledo, Valencia
  • Example 29507: Salamanca, Sevilla

El Gordo in Germany: Online providers are the solution

Where can I play the Spanish Christmas lottery? Buying tickets for the Spanish Christmas lottery is no longer a big challenge with the online providers. In the meantime, the selection is no longer limited to one or two providers. Why buy tickets online? The explanation is simple: There are only tickets available in Spain.

The Spanish Christmas lottery play works for Lottofans from Germany therefore only online. How does it all work? To play El Gordo, players first need an account at the lottery broker. The second step for playing El Gordo in Germany is the selection of the lot number and the lot type.

That makes a serious online provider

Seriosity is important – a principle which of course also applies with regard to playing El Gordo. Nobody wants to be pulled in relation to the disbursement or the redemption of the profit tickets over the table to be able to be pulled.

It would be nevertheless the dream par excellence to wake up on 22 December to pursue at the PC the Spanish Weihnachtslotterie live stream – and the own lottery number see, how it meets El Gordo. Stupidly only that the ticket was acquired with no respectable offerer. On 23 December this bitter truth is certainty.

Why should the seriousness of the providers play a role? The profit comes nevertheless from the Spanish Lotteriegesellschaft. Eben not! Some of the on-line offerers maintain so-called Zweitlotterien, which stand with the Spanish Weihnachtslotterie in no direct connection. The best way to understand the whole thing is as a bet that the ticket numbers typed hit the “big one”. Such online providers can certainly be understood as bookmakers.

But a second group of online providers has established itself on the market. These buy lots on behalf of their customers. Lot numbers – play for example for the El Gordo – are deposited then in the customer account.

Both offers should – to be on the safe side – have an official license and be controlled by the authorities. For bookmakers, a second point is important: profit protection. Hardly any of the companies has the profits for El Gordo or the Eurojackpot in the “postage box”. Insurances will cover the case that players hit the jackpot.

Payment methods of online providers

What does the Spanish Christmas lottery cost? In order to be able to play El Gordo as a German it doesn’t matter at one point whether you are betting through a lottery broker or a second lottery – the deposit and withdrawal. Every participant needs the necessary small change to buy a ticket.

In the Spanish lottery offices the motto is: Cash is truth. Of course cash can be carried badly to the on-line offerers. How are the tickets for El Gordo then paid? Various payment methods have established themselves online. These include some classics – such as bank transfers or credit cards. Online providers are moving with the times and are relying on modern payment services. The goal: fast payment processing for more customer friendliness.

Overview of the payment methods commonly used by online providers:

  • Credit card (VISA and MasterCard)
  • Bank transfer
  • E-Wallets/ePayment services such as PayPal or Sofort

While transfers and credit cards can be found almost everywhere at online providers, the scope of ePayment services varies.

  • Bank transfer: Transfers from one bank account to another are the payment method par excellence. However, this has a disadvantage when it comes to recharging a customer account with lottery providers. Transfers usually take several working days.
  • Credit cards: Especially popular as a means of payment for holidays abroad, “plastic money” is also regularly used online. VISA or MasterCard cards are widely used in Germany. Some providers also accept Diners Club and American Express.
  • PayPal: Arisen at the end of the 1990s, PayPal has meanwhile risen to one of the largest ePayment service providers – with more than 240 million customers. The simple handling and fast completion of the payments is a reason of the popularity not only in the Lotto range, but also with PayPal Casinos. However PayPal is not supported by all on-line offerers.
  • SOFORT: At first sight rather with the bank transfer comparable, belongs SOFORT to the ePayment Dienstleistern. The core of the fast processing is an immediate transaction confirmation to the recipient of a payment. The fact that the PIN and a TAN are required for this immediately is viewed critically.
  • Giropay: Similarly, giropay is based immediately on a payment guarantee for the recipient. However, there is a part of the German credit industry behind the system. In the context of the payment procedure the account owner must authorize the payment with a TAN.

Besides the payment methods mentioned further services are supported, like Skrill, Neteller or MuchBetter – however usually only from individual offerers.

How expensive are the lots?

In Spain nearly the entire country queue up, in order to be able to take before acceptance deadline still the winner lot home. German Lottofans bring their Lottofans from the holidays with home. Depending on whether single lots or tenth lots are played, the participation in the Spanish Weihnachtslotterie costs between 20 euro to 200 euro .

It speaks naturally nothing against buying five tenth lots – and putting 100 euro on the table. Who wants to play tickets for El Gordo as a German, reaches for the Lotto mediators or sets on the bookmaker system.

Both is simple and comfortable, has in addition, a crucial disadvantage. The price for the ticket is higher. Say: The participation in the Spanish Weihnachtslotterie can be paid on-line offerers.

The height of the markup varies from offerer to offerer. Example single lot: The prices for this lie in the average between 249 euro to 315 euro . In order to play tenth lots, 30 Euro to 35 Euro should be included. The online providers offer even smaller shares of tickets at particularly low prices. The latter is offered in the bookmaker systems. Here 1/100 ticket numbers are playable.

Caution: The lower the denomination, the smaller the winning amount. With a 1/50 ticket, the El Gordo main prize will still be a sum of 80,000 euros.

El Gordo free play: Is that?

Without moss nothing going on! Means: Playing the Spanish Christmas lottery for free is only possible with a bow as a gift. A second option are coupons, which lie on the birthday table. But: It’s worth looking for coupons. Again and again the one or other discount code appears in the net. And with it the lot becomes somewhat more favorable.

Prices for El Gordo (for example Lottoland)
Los Price per lot
single lot 249 Euro
half lot 149,99 Euro
Fiveth lot 64.99 Euro
Tenth lot 34.99 Euro
1/20 Lot 19,99 Euro
1/50 lot 8,99 Euro
1/100 lot 4,99 Euro

10 Spanish Christmas lottery facts

  • Spanish lottery winnings equal 70 percent sales proceeds
  • li2014 one of the years with latest draw of El Gordo
  • 2007 El Gordo was 10th in the list of the most popular lottery in Spain.46 hrs drawn
  • 1938 there were two El Gordo draws of the Christmas lottery
  • libitherto two numbers were drawn repeatedly
  • first El Gordo lottery number was 03604
  • 2016 all El Gordo lots were sold in one lottery place
  • 2017 520 million euros went into a 14th draw of the El Gordo lottery.000 Souls Community
  • 1 lottery ball weighs 3 grams and is made of boxwood
  • loose must be redeemed after three months

lotto winnings in Germany taxes

In Germany lotto winnings are tax-free. Background: The Income Tax Act – EstG for short – does not assign these to any of the taxable types of income. If you play the Spanish Christmas lottery online (or directly on holiday in Spain), you will unfortunately have to make friends with an uncomfortable truth. In Spain, winnings are taxable.

This regulation has been in force since 2013. What does it all mean for lottery players from Germany who want to cut off a piece of the El Gordo cake?

The tax rate for lottery winnings – including from the Christmas lottery – is 20 percent. This means that if you win 4 million Euros from the El Gordo Jackpot in 2018, you will have to pay 800,000 Euros. A lavish sum that comes together with 160 million winnings. Incidentally, the country from which the lottery winner comes is irrelevant for taxation purposes.

Background: The Spanish state has obliged the lottery company to deduct the taxes before paying out the winnings. There is a small consolation. Whoever hits one of the small winnings with his lot number gets away with it without tax deduction. The 20 per cent lottery tax results only from a winning amount of 2,500 euro an.

Tip: For the participation over on-line offerers own rules apply, it can give the profit tax-free. Here the AGB of the offerer are crucial.

The Spanish Weihnachtslotterie 2017: Profit numbers and participants

2017 was a year, that again many Spaniards made millionaires. On 22 December the whole country fevered along, when the two children finally leave the winning number for El Gordo – 71198. The cheering might have been particularly loud in Villalba.

In the municipality counting 14,000 inhabitants many surely listened to the drawing at the radio or followed the lottery directly live on television. When the “fat one” was drawn, Villalba was proverbially rich. Of the 160 tickets with the winning number, 130 were sold in Villalba. 520 million euros – the impressive result of the 2017 Christmas lottery for Villalba.

Spanish Christmas lottery winning numbers 2018 – an overview:

  • 03347 – El Gordo (4 million euros)
  • 21015 – Segundo (1.25 million euros)
  • 04211 – Tercero (500,000 euros)

Funny Facts: Curiosities about the Spanish Christmas lottery

El Gordo has been played since 1812. Enough time for one or the other anecdote. Meanwhile there are many stories about the Spanish Christmas lottery. And sometimes El Gordo turns whole communities into millionaires in one fell swoop.

  • Villalba 2017: The village Villalba had a lot to celebrate in 2017. Of the 160 winning lots, 130 were sold in the Galician locality. Thus 520 million Euro went to Villalba.
  • Madrid 2016: If 2017 was a surprise, the champagne corks might have also popped in 2016. According to the Spanish lottery company, all winning tickets of the Spanish Christmas lottery were sold this year in a single outlet in Madrid.
  • 15640 – the first double number: Until 1978 no number was ever drawn twice in the history of the Christmas lottery. This year the children with the 15640 drew a lot number that had already hit the fat lottery in 1956.
  • The beginning of 1812: 1812 marks the year of birth of the Christmas lottery. The first drawn number was the 03604.

El Gordo Summer Lottery: The sister of the Christmas money blessing?

El Gordo play is the event in Spain at Christmas. And for many households there is an early Christmas present. Who goes out empty, does not have to wait up to 22 December of the new yearly. The reason: In the meantime there is a counterpart for the Spanish Weihnachtslotterie in the summer.

The El Gordo summer drawing of the Lotterie is not less interesting for players from at home and abroad. But: There are some differences. The Spanish summer lottery is drawn on the first weekend of July. 2018 was the 7th of July.

Whoever held one of the El Gordo tickets with the number 96881 in his hands could be happy about 2 million Euro as main prizes. In a direct comparison with the Christmas lottery, the winnings were only about half as big. Means: The second price (Segundo) is 600.000 Euro worth, the third price 200.000 Euro. Fourth and fifth price are drawn for the Spanish summer lottery twice each.

Lose for the summer drawing of the El Gordo can be acquired in Spain in the acceptance places of the Lotteriegesellschaft. In order to be able to play the Spanish summer lottery in Germany, the on-line offerers offer themselves. Here it applies to consider, how the tickets are played – whether in the bookmaker system or a Lotto mediator.

Facts to the summer lottery in the overview: