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Spaniards bid for share of £1.6bn lottery pot

Published 19/12/2015

People queue along a street in Madrid to buy lottery tickets (AP)
People queue along a street in Madrid to buy lottery tickets (AP)

Spaniards are taking advantage of unseasonably warm weather and a "day of reflection" break in political campaigning ahead of a general election to buy tickets for the world's richest lottery.

Long queues formed at shops on Saturday as people hoped to buy a winning share in Spain's Christmas lottery, known as El Gordo (the Fat One), which will hand out 2.24 billion euro (£1.6 billion).

It is estimated that three-quarters of Spain's 46 million people will take part in the draw on Tuesday.

The Yuletide tradition dates to 1812. The draw is broadcast nationally, gluing hope-filled Spaniards to radio and TV sets for hours as winning numbers are called out.

Unlike lotteries offering one large jackpot, El Gordo keeps the top prize at 400,000 euro (£292,000), enabling thousands of ticket-holders to be winners.

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