El Gordo

  • Next Estimated Jackpot EUR 8,000,000
  • Spain
  • 08/27/2017 11:00:00
For information purposes only

El Gordo de la Primitiva is a Spanish lottery game which literally translates as 'the fat one' - a name commonly used in Spain for the largest prize in any lottery, which can be confusing at times. There is also a special Christmas lottery commonly called El Gordo, so it's important to be sure which one you are talking about.

The draw selects five numbers from a pot of 54, along with a single ball from a separate pot of ten, with players able to select their preferred numbers in both parts of the game - unlike Spain's La Primitiva lottery, in which the Reintegro number is randomly assigned to tickets from 0-9. In El Gordo, players must select five numbers from the main draw, and one single-digit number from 0-9, which is the Reintegro or 'Refund' number.

Unusually, El Gordo draws take place early on a Sunday afternoon, around 01:00 p.m. local time, and tickets -priced at €1.50 each - cannot be purchased on draw day itself, but only on Monday-Saturday.

How to Play

Tickets cost €1.50 each and you must select five numbers from 1-54 along with a single-digit 'Reintegro' number. The system can choose your numbers at random for you, if you prefer.

Yet another unusual option in El Gordo is the ability to place combination bets on a single play slip - you can choose up to 11 numbers from the main grid. The ticket price will rise accordingly, and you must confirm your intention by checking the box below the grid to play from six lines to cycle through six selected numbers, up to 462 lines for every combination of 11 numbers. Your one selected Reintegro number will be played alongside each of these lines too.

Prizes are a little complicated, as the different tiers are calculated in different ways. The main jackpot, for matching all five main balls and the Reintegro number, constitutes 22% of all ticket sales. There's a fixed payout of €3 for matching two main balls, and a €1.50 refund for matching just the Reintegro number. All of the other prizes are calculated as a percentage of what's left - see the table below for the full breakdown.

Your chance of matching five numbers is about 3.5 million to one, and of matching the Reintegro number as well is around 30 million to one, with payouts usually well over €5 million. Draws take place once a week early on Sunday afternoons, but you'll have to buy your ticket on Monday-Saturday.

Fast Facts

El Gordo is unusual in allowing up to 11 numbers to be chosen from 1-54 - every combination of five will be played, with an increase in ticket price and in the chance of winning.

It is also unusual in that draws take place on Sundays, with ticket sales only open Monday-Saturday.

Trivia

The prize structure is even more complicated if nobody wins the jackpot. Instead of rolling over the full 22% of ticket sales into the jackpot for the next week's draw, half of it is shared among the lower prize tiers instead. That means following a week in which nobody won, the new jackpot will be equal to the jackpot from two weeks earlier, plus 11% of the previous week's sales, plus 22% of the current week's sales.

At a guaranteed minimum of €5 million, the jackpot - the 'fat one' itself - is aptly named, as it is among the largest minimum prize funds of any national lottery in the world. It is eclipsed by the similarly named Christmas lottery, El Gordo de Navidad, for which tickets are sold throughout the second half of the year - leading to a prize fund that can approach €2 billion in total.

Prize Tiers

The state collects 45% of ticket sales. 10% is allocated to the lowest prize tier, for matching the 'Refund' number.

A further 22% goes into the jackpot - although half of this is shared with the lower tiers if no jackpot winners are found. The remainder is shared according to the percentages shown in the table.

Match Odds Prize Typical Payout
5 + Refund 1 in 31,625,100 22% of ticket sales At least €5 million
5 1 in 3,513,900 33% of remainder €180,000
4 + R 1 in 129,082 6% of remainder €8,000
4 1 in 14,342 7% of remainder €160
3 + R 1 in 2,689 8% of remainder €45
3 1 in 299 26% of remainder €14
2 + R 1 in 172 20% of remainder €6
2 1 in 19 €3 (fixed) €3 (fixed)
0 + R 1 in 10 10% of ticket sales €1.50