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Title: Spanish Christmas lottery hands out $3 billion
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Spanish Christmas lottery hands out $3 billion: "Spain's beloved Christmas lottery sprinkled 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) in holi...
Spanish Christmas lottery hands out $3 billion: "Spain's beloved Christmas lottery sprinkled 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) in holiday cheer across the country Wednesday, handing out winnings eagerly welcomed by a nation facing 20 percent unemployment.
One of the most awaited days of the year in Spain served up merry moments for people struggling to make mortgage payments and pay bills, or those seeking jobs. One lottery vendor said he had hired a medium to lure good luck.
The government-run lottery billed as the world's richest has no single jackpot but operates a complex share-the-wealth system in which thousands of five-digit numbers running from 00000 to 84999 win at least something. It is known as 'El Gordo' (The Fat One) and dates back to 1812.
Tax-free winnings range from the face value of a 20-euro ($26.31) ticket — in other words, you get your money back — to a top prize of 300,000 euros ($394,650).
The sweepstakes, which goes on for three hours, informally ushers in the Christmas season. Many Spaniards spend the day glued to TV sets, radios and computers, waiting to see if they are among the lucky. People often team up to buy shares of tickets sold by bars, sports clubs and business offices."

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