School's Fundraising Effort Ends in $327M Windfall

The El Gordo lottery takes Spain once again
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2015 10:39 AM CST
School's Fundraising Effort Ends in $327M Windfall
A worker holds out the ball with the top prize of euro 4,000,000 ($4,352,160) during the Spanish Christmas lottery draw, known as 'El Gordo' or 'The Fat One', in Madrid, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015.   (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

It's time for the annual story that makes you wish you were Spanish. Spain has once again held its famous El Gordo lottery, doling out a total $2.4 billion to its people, reports the AP. Number 79140 was the big winner this year; the Telegraph reports that 160 "whole tickets" were sold for that number, with each being worth about $4.37 million. Per usual, poignant stories are emerging: A 140-person school in the Andalucia region took part in what the Telegraph terms a "lottery-selling scheme" to raise funds for a school trip. It bought and then resold nearly 800 décimos (each is 1/10th of a ticket, so the equivalent of 80 tickets) ... of number 79140, making for a $327 million windfall for the town.

"Almost everyone in the village has a décimo, even if they shared it," says Laujar de Andarax's mayor. "They're going mad over at the school!" ... and now plotting a trip to Miami, not Italy. The schoolkids had bought the tickets from the lottery agency in Roquetas de Mar, the southern beach town that happened to have sold all the winning tickets (the AP points out that the winning number is generally sold by more than one lottery agency.) Another big winner in that town, per the Local: A 35-year-old Senagalese migrant who sailed from his homeland in 2007 and was rescued by a Spanish lifeboat. He entered Spain empty-handed, and has largely worked as a seasonal vegetable picker. "This is a souvenir to Antonio, who told ... us to fend for ourselves," he said of his last employer, who had laid him off. (More El Gordo stories.)

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