Europe

Giant 'El Gordo' lottery grips Spain

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Media caption"You don't buy it you don't win...simple as that" - Costis Mitsokakis the only man in his village not to win three years ago

Christmas has come early for thousands of lucky winners in Spain's €2.2bn (£1.7bn; $2.7bn) lottery called "El Gordo" (The Fat One).

The winners included ticket-holders in Madrid, the south-eastern regions of Murcia and Valencia, A Coruna in the north-west and Cadiz in the south.

It is the world's biggest Christmas lottery, and the live televised draw grips the nation.

There were 10 top prizes, worth €400,000 each, for ticket number 13437.

The lottery has a huge impact for the lucky winners in Spain, where the unemployment rate is nearly 24% and even higher among the under-25s. In some cases it can help hard-up people pay off their debts.

As is customary, the winners' numbers, revealed on wooden balls, were sung by a group of 22 children at Madrid's Royal Theatre.

Unlike many other lotteries, there is no single jackpot - instead the winnings are distributed among thousands of people.

The second prize was worth a total of €1.25m and the third prize 500,000.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption A ticket seller, right, in A Coruna was among those celebrating after the draw

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