Why the El Gordo Lottery is Setting an Example for Other Lotteries to Follow

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If you asked the average European to name the five biggest lotteries in Europe, you’d get a quick rundown of the usual suspects like the EuroMillions, UK Lotto, French Lotto, German Lotto and the EuroJackpot. If you asked someone from Spain, however, there would be one lottery name on their lips: El Gordo. And as it happens, the Spaniards would be the correct ones in this scenario.

Not only is the El Gordo one of the biggest lotteries in terms of prizes, but no other lottery anywhere in the world is played in quite the same way. In most lotteries, players buy their tickets, take their chances and then repeat the process the following week. In the El Gordo, an entire nation gets excited for an annual draw, they make an occasion out of it, and they obsess over the draw and the winner for weeks.

The lottery culture that the El Gordo has created is unique, and it is inspiring other global lotteries to change the way they operate in order to be more like the El Gordo.

The Chinese El Gordo

One of the biggest driving forces for modern lotteries is China. Historically, it hasn’t been big on lotteries, but in recent years it has changed, taking inspiration from lotteries like the El Gordo to do so.

In 2017, more money was staked on lotteries than in any previous year. The amount, over 426 billion Yuan, is equivalent to the entire wealth of China’s capital city, Beijing. In Euros, this amount adds up to €56 billion. That may sound like a lot of money and in comparison to previous years it is, but it is some way shy of the amount spent in Europe. In the UK alone over €450 billion is spent on lottery tickets and scratch cards, and when you add lottery loving countries like Spain (home of the El Gordo) and France, that figure becomes astronomical.
As with European lotteries, a significant hunk of the money paid into these Chinese lotteries is used by government welfare programs, going towards building infrastructure and helping with good causes ranging from healthcare to disaster relief. And all of this is thanks to the unique way that lotteries like the El Gordo connect with their ticket holders.

Setting a Trend

The Chinese Sports Lottery, Welfare Lottery and other new lotteries are taking lead from the El Gordo because of the way this lottery grips the public every year. Also known as the Spanish Christmas Lottery, it is a national (and often international) event that has taken place for over 200 years and plays an important role in the lives—and the Christmases—of all Spaniards.
The tickets are more expensive (a full ticket is €200; a partial ticket is €20), but the unique way the lottery is drawn, combining elements of lottery and raffle, ensure that someone will be a winner and that the odds of winning are considerably greater than they would be for a standard lottery format. In fact, your odds of scooping the grand prize on the El Gordo (1 in 100,000) are hundreds of times greater than your odds of winning the EuroMillions (1 in 139 million).
Even the UK National Lottery, which is said to offer some of the best results, doesn’t come close as you are 450 times more likely to win the El Gordo.


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