Much of Spain has been gripped with excitement, with people glued to El Gordo, the Big One, the slice of hope. The lottery is the biggest, and the oldest in the world, with a total prize fund of 2.3 billion euros. Its tickets are sold in more than 140 countries in a lottery that produces thousands of winners.El Gordo is particularly welcome this year, as Spain, like other countries, struggles on the brink of recession. A prize, even of a few thousand euros, will make this Christmas extra special. Great news for some, but every silver lining has a cloud. One old lady was distraught because she had washed her ticket by mistake. She said she threw her coat in the washer without thinking. It could be a winning ticket, and El Gordo officials are now trying to piece the soggy bits together to keep her dreams alive. It gives a whole new, if rather sad, meaning to the idea of money-laundering.