December 17th, 2008

Let me see..

29168: my El Gordo number

It's El Gordo, the Fat One, the biggest lottery in the world. If I'm lucky on December 22, I'll be 300,000 tax-free euros richer. I bought my El Gordo lottery ticket through my workplace. My coworkers and I have the same number. It's a workplace bonding tradition in Spain. If we win, we'll spend Monday afternoon partying.

The El Gordo lottery, run by the government, has been going on since 1812. This year it will pay out prizes worth around US$3 billion. The lottery tickets are broken down into 195 series of 85,000 tickets. Each ticket costs 200 euros, and I have a tenth of a ticket. Top prize for each ticket is 3 million euros.

You can also buy smaller portions of tickets, and some merchants give out mini-tickets worth a few pennies with each purchase. Most households spend about 80 euros on El Gordo.

In addition to the top prize, there are 13,333 smaller prizes, and overall, I have a 15 percent chance of winning something, though it may be as little as 20 euros.

So on Monday morning, December 22, the country will wait breathlessly for three hours as the lottery winners are drawn. Students from St. Ildefonso grade school will sing (yes, sing) each winning number and prize. It will be broadcast live on television and radio.

May luck be with me. (That's a Lottery slogan.) What if El Gordo lands here? (That's another slogan.)

29168 — "veintinueve mil ciento sesenta y ocho," as those lovely children would sing it. I'll be listening.