Spain Strikes It Rich With $2.7 Billion 'El Gordo' Christmas Lottery Draw

It's the biggest lottery in the world in terms of total payouts -- and multiple people scooped the top 400,000 Euro prize.

MADRID (AP) — Holders of the ticket number 03347 struck it rich Saturday when they won the top prize in Spain’s bumper Christmas lottery.

The lottery, known as El Gordo, or The Fat One, dished out 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in prize-money this year. The top prize for a winning ticket is 400,000 euros, but there are many smaller prizes.

The number that was paired with the top prize had been sold in various points across Spain. Other lotteries have bigger individual top prizes but El Gordo, held each Dec. 22, is ranked as the world’s biggest in terms of total prize-money.

Children from Madrid’s San Ildefonso school called out the prizes on a nationally televised draw at Madrid’s Teatro Real opera house. The tiny balls corresponding to the top prize rolled down chutes from two huge round cages and were called out by a pair of young girls three hours into the gala.

People buy lottery tickets, which cost 20 euros each, for months in advance. Following the draw has become a winter holiday tradition in Spain, with people glued to television sets, radios and the internet where newspaper websites give a running commentary.

Spain established its national lottery as a charity in 1763, during the reign of King Carlos III. Its objective later became to shore up state coffers.

Re-watch the draw here: