A man buys a Christmas lottery ticket from a street seller in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. Spain's bumper Christmas lottery draw known as El Gordo, or The Fat One, will be held on Dec. 22. (AP Photo/Paul White)

Spain dishes out $2.43 billion in bumper Christmas lottery

December 22, 2019 - 4:06 am

MADRID (AP) — The lucky holders of ticket number 26590 struck it rich in Spain on Sunday when they won the top prize in the nation’s bumper Christmas lottery.

The top-prize winning number worth 400,000 euros ($436,000) fell out of the enormous metallic shuffling bins in a live televised event Sunday morning. The winners won 20,000 euros for each euro spent on a 20-euro ticket.

The incredibly popular lottery, known as El Gordo (The Fat One), dishes out a total of 2.24 billion euros ($2.43 billion) in prizes this year. There are lots of smaller prizes in addition to the top prize.

Other lotteries have bigger individual top prizes but El Gordo, held each year on Dec. 22, is ranked as the world's richest for the total prize money involved.

Children from Madrid's San Ildefonso school called out the prizes on a nationally televised draw at Madrid's Teatro Real opera house.

Families, friends and co-workers buy tickets together as part of a winter holiday tradition. They then gather around their television sets, radios or mobile phones, hoping that fortune shines on them.

The lottery is run by the state and supports several charity efforts.

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