Spain hands out $3bn in planet's biggest lottery

2014-12-22 17:24
European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said recently that the bank may need to take action to stem the rising euro. (Philippe Huguen, AFP)

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said recently that the bank may need to take action to stem the rising euro. (Philippe Huguen, AFP)

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Madrid - Spaniards who bought lottery tickets in an upper middle class Madrid neighbourhood hit the jackpot on Monday, getting €400 000 payoffs from a €2.5bn pot of cash that will be divided among thousands of ticketholders.

More than 100 of the top winning tickets were sold in the downtown neighbourhood, though 20 were also purchased in the southern city of Cadiz and a handful were sold in other cities across the nation.

Unlike lotteries that offer one large jackpot or just a few big winning tickets, Spain's Christmas season "El Gordo" (The Fat One) lottery distributes prizes to thousands of people, with other winning tickets shelling out tens of thousands or hundreds of euros.

It's the world's richest lottery and Spaniards were glued to televisions as awards were announced in a drawing program that lasted four hours.

Before Spain's economic implosion in 2008, winners often splurged on new cars, beach homes or vacations. Now many use winnings to pay off debt.

Read more on:    spain

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