Spain Gives Out $1.1B Lottery
Bad news: There's a 20% income tax due to austerity measures
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2013 10:09 AM CST
A ball bearing a ticket number falls from a giant drum during a lottery draw in Madrid in this 2010 file photo.   (AP Photo/Arturo Rodriguez)

(Newser) – Endless recession or not, Spain's crazy-huge lotteries go on: The traditional Jan. 6 lottery known as El Niño today showered $1.1 billion on those lucky enough to have the winning numbers, reports the AP. The lottery isn't even Spain's largest (a Dec. 22 lotto known as El Gordo handed out $3.3 billion last year) and is pegged to the day that the three kings arrived in Bethlehem, bearing gifts for the baby Jesus. One small nod to austerity: Winners of more than $3,250 have to fork over 20% in income tax. Top tickets were worth $260,240. "I am very excited because I really needed this," says one woman.