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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Have you won big on a Spanish lottery?

A Load Of Lottery Balls

Had an email from someone today asking for the winning lottery numbers from specific date and, whilst I'm pleased to oblige, if there's one thing there's more of than fiestas in Spain, it's lotteries! So, the purpose of this post is to give you some brief details about the most common lotteries in Spain and, to show you how and where you can find Spanish lottery results online. Now, I don't wish to encourage anyone into betting and gambling - remember; you can lose money, it can be addictive and that's very, very bad for you.

On the other hand, here's a chance for a little bit of holiday fun and, even if you don't win you can probably donate your money to a good cause in the process ...

ONCE Charity Lottery for the Blind

The lottery you will see most frequently in Spain, because it's sold in the streets, is the ONCE. The letters stand for Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles (Spanish National Organization for the Blind). So, even if your luck is out, you know that what you spent on the ticket will help someone blind or partially-sighted.

Their regular lottery is run Monday to Friday and on Sundays. Monday to Thursday, currently, there's a top prize of 35,000 euros (about £23,000), if you have the whole five figure number and, smaller prizes for getting the last 4, 3, 2 or 1 figures. You get your stake back if you have the last figure, but most people simply exchange this for another ticket for the next lottery. On Fridays ONCE have a special big draw. The prize, currently, is 6 million euros (about £4 million), if you have both the five figure number and the three figure SERIE. On Sundays, that same number / serie combination attracts a prize of 6,000 euros (around £4,000), per month, for 25 years.

You can buy ONCE tickets from authorized cupón sellers in the street, as well as in ONCE kiosks, which are clearly identified by the word "ONCE", in busy areas and shopping centers and, often shops and bars will have tickets on sale too.

Bearing in mind that many ticket sellers are blind or partially-sighted themselves, so pointing to the ticket you want probably won't work, it would be helpful to familiarize yourself with numbers in Spanish from 0 to 9. Then you can ask for your "lucky number"; i.e. a ticket terminating with that figure. For instance, if you want a ticket that ends in 7, say "Dame un siete" (Give me a seven) or just "Un siete" (A seven) will get the message across, because this is a common way for locals to choose their tickets.

Don't know how to pronounce numbers in Spanish, watch this:

Video: Numbers and Counting in Spanish

You can be more fussy and exact over your choice, of course, but I'm just trying to make this simple and fun for the non-Spanish speaker.

Where to check your winnings: at the ONCE website.

Results are only displayed in Spanish, but since lottery numbers and dates are all in Arabic numerals coupled with the information you'll have on the ticket itself, you should have no problem finding your way around.

Video: Days of the Week and Dates in Spanish

More about ONCE and the Cupón Diario (Daily cupón) at Wikipedia

Loteria Nacional (National Lottery)

The next most commonly seen lottery is the state Loteria Nacional (National Lottery), which was created as a way to increase the State Treasury without bankrupting contributors. So, if you've ever heard the phrase, "Lottery: A tax on people who are bad at maths", know that this jest is not at all far from the truth! With that in mind, you can, nevertheless, easily buy tickets in the special lottery administrations L.A.E.- Loterías y Apuestas del Estado (State Lotteries and Betting) - lottery ticket / betting shops, found in most towns.

Where to check your numbers online:

At ElGordo.com, you can check results for the Loteria Nacional (National Lottery), Loteria Nacional Jueves (Thursday National Lottery) and many other Spanish lotteries, plus EuroMillions ... In English.

Loterias.com provide results, in Spanish, of a huge selection of lotteries; Sorteo de NAVIDAD (Navidad = Christmas; this is the same as El Gordo), Sorteo del Niño, Loteria Primitiva, Bonoloto, Lotería Nacional, Lotería Nacional Jueves, 1X2 La Quiniela, El Gordo de la Primitiva, Cupon de la O.N.C.E, Euromillones, Oro de la Cruz Roja, Loto Catalunya, Quinigol, Lototurf and Quíntuple Plus. I hadn't heard of half of those, much less know how they work, so I'm guessing you won't need to know either.

Christmas Lottery (Sorteo de Navidad)

You can't mention lotteries in Spain without mentioning the Spanish Christmas Lottery (Sorteo de Navidad), affectionately known as El Gordo (The Fat One) that takes place every year on December 22nd and, which has been "Repartiendo ilusiones desde 1812" (Distributing hope since 1812). The price of a ticket in that first Gordo of December 18th, 1812, was 40 reales (10 pesetas / 6 cents / 4 pence) and the top prize was equivalent to 240 euros (£160). It went to ticket number 03604.

Last year it went to number 20297 and the prize was 300,000 euros (about £200,000) for a decimo (one ticket) with the correct number and serie. You need the whole strip of 10 tickets to get millions, but this draw is famous for distributing lots of decent prizes, rather than one huge one.

What if I've Won?

IdealSpain say, "According to the Spanish State Lottery, non-Spaniards can participate in the lottery and claim prizes just the same as Spanish citizens. The only restriction is that any prize winnings must stay within Spain or you face paying taxes on the amount won upon entering another country." Generally, you have 30 days to claim your winnings, so don't hang about. If it's one of the state lotteries, go to any of the lottery administrations L.A.E.- Loterías y Apuestas del Estado. If it is ONCE, find a kiosk. If you've you won a big prize, you'll be able to pay someone to translate.

Other Advice and Warnings

Various email scams appear in the name of the Spanish lottery claiming that you've won. ElGordo.com have a page about these scams here. There is only one rule to follow here, "To win a prize of the Spanish lottery is essential to have purchased previously lottery or bets ..." In other words, if you didn't buy a ticket you CAN'T have won. Period.

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