how to play el gordo lottery

How to Play El Gordo de Navidad

Entering the El Gordo de Navidad draw on 22nd December has never been easier, whether playing in Spain or entering online from anywhere in the world. There is always a great deal of excitement and anticipation whenever the draw approaches, so it’s important to know how you can enter before the draw takes place.

What do I need to buy to enter?

Players can choose to buy a full ticket costing €200, known as a billete, or purchase a decimo for €20 which is a tenth of the size. It is common for groups of people to split the cost of a billete to play as part of a syndicate, because buying one outright can be expensive.

Once you have bought your pre-printed decimo or billete, you will be eligible for the draw which sees a set number of tickets sold, all with pre-generated codes. Each ticket belongs to a number of series which can vary each year. There were 170 series in the 2019 draw, each of which contained a set number of prizes. The top prize offers one ticket in each series the chance to win €4 million on a billete. There are 16 tiers of other prizes available in each series for raffle codes which come close to the winning code.

Playing Online

You can grab tickets in minutes when you play El Gordo online, giving yourself a 1 in 100,000 chance of winning the El Gordo 1st prize. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Spanish resident or live overseas, just follow these simple online steps to buy one or more shares on each for each five-digit number:

  • Click here from your mobile or desktop device
  • Choose how many shares you would to buy by pressing the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons. You can see the number of shares available for each scan, so know how many there are
  • If you don’t like the numbers you are offered then you can generate different pre-printed numbers by tapping the blue ‘Shuffle’ button
  • View the total price of your purchase in the box below, double checking it is all correct
  • Confirm your purchase by pressing the orange ‘PLAY’ button
  • If you already have an online account with, simply press ‘Click here to login’ where you will be prompted to enter your email or username and password. You can alternatively sign in with Facebook. If you don’t already have an online account, you can quickly set one up for free by entering your email and password.
  • You will then be able to deposit and pay for your purchase to enter the El Gordo de Navidad draw.
  • A scanned copy of your entry will then be directly emailed straight to you with full confirmation of your entry.
  • All you have to do then is simply wait for the draw to take place on 22nd December.
  • If your ticket is drawn and you become a winner, you will receive an email from instructing you with the next steps.

Playing at a Local Retailer

If you are a Spanish resident, you are able to enter El Gordo de Navidad simply by visiting a number of lottery outlets situated throughout Spain. These outlets will sell El Gordo de Navidad decimos and billetes, and you will then be given a physical copy of your ticket once you have paid for it. Keep it in a safe place because you will need it to show lottery officials if you need to claim a prize.

Rules and Regulations

The El Gordo rules are straightforward and easy to understand, even if you have never played the game before. These rules and regulations for the El Gordo were established by the State Lotteries Company (SELAE) to ensure that the game is fair and that players know what to expect when they participate. The main El Gordo rules are as follows:

  • Players must be 18 or older to buy El Gordo tickets.
  • All El Gordo prizes worth more than €2,500 are subject to a tax of 20%.
  • This yearly draw takes place in Madrid and is organised by the Spanish Government.
  • Players must claim their El Gordo prizes as soon as possible as prizes will expire in 90 days if no winner comes forward. If you think you are an El Gordo winner, it is worth contacting lottery officials and claiming your prize as soon as possible.
  • 70% of the money raised through El Gordo ticket sales is allocated to funding prizes.

Held once a year on the 22nd of December, the El Gordo de Navidad offers the largest lottery prize pools in the world, find out how to play here. The El Gordo de Navidad rules are quite straightforward and easy to understand. Like all lottery rules, they must be abided by.

What is El Gordo, what does it mean and how much can you win in Spain’s Christmas lottery?

The prize ticket numbers are sung out by school pupils from the city’s Teatro Real opera house

  • 22 Dec 2017, 16:09
  • Updated : 22 Dec 2017, 16:10

SPAIN’S annual Christmas lottery draws in a shedload of punters, all in with a chance of picking up thousands of pounds in prize money.

But just why is El Gordo so popular, what does it mean and how does it work?

What is El Gordo?

Spain’s massively popular Christmas lottery hands out 2.3 billion euros across the country.

The lottery’s top prize per winning ticket is 400,000 euros (£355,000).

Other lotteries have larger individual top prizes but El Gordo, which dates from 1812, is ranked as the world’s richest for the total prize money on offer.

This year it dished out 25 million prizes.

Held every December 22, the lottery is ranked as the world’s richest for the total prize money on offer.

Standard tickets cost 20 euros and people traditionally chip in and buy shares in several tickets with friends, family or workmates.

It is designed so as many people as possible snag a win or at least break even with cash prizes doled out across the country.

Local bars or associations often offer tickets to staff and customers.

What does El Gordo mean?

El Gordo means The Fat One simply because of the amount of money which is handed out in prizes.

How does El Gordo work?

El Gordo’s complex rules allow for multiple purchases of the same lottery number.

To buy a whole ticket – and have a chance of winning – costs €200.

Most people go for a €20 décimo, or tenth of a ticket, The Telegraph reports.

It is said 70 per cent of the money people have spent on tickets will be distributed in prizes.

How much can you win?

This year’s Fat One draw will see £1,95 billion distributed around the country.

Spaniards spend an average of €55 (£47) on tickets each year, according to reports.

The lottery’s top prize per winning ticket is €400,000.

How is it drawn?

Queues form outside lottery booths weeks ahead of the draw and people tune in to find out if they are among the lucky ones.








The prize ticket numbers are sung out by pupils of Madrid’s San Ildefonso School in a nationally televised event from the city’s Teatro Real opera house.

Spain established its national lottery as a charity in 1763, during the reign of King Carlos III.

Organisers said ticket sales totalled 2.6 billion euros this year, up 3.5 percent from last year.

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Why is El Gordo so popular and how does Spain's Christmas lottery work? ]]>