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"El Gordo" brings some Christmas joy in Spain

"El Gordo" brings some Christmas joy in Spain
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Two towns hit hard by the Spanish economic crisis were the big winners in the €2.2-billion Christmas lottery draw held on Sunday in Madrid. The top prize known as El Gordo or “The Fat One” distributed €640 million of the grand total.

“We jumped out of bed,” recount one winner from Madrid. “We were watching the draw from bed. We’ll pay the mortgage off and then just enjoy life.”

The money could not have come at a better time for many in a country struggling with over 25 percent unemployment.

“I need the money. I’m 53 and living on €1150 in unemployment assistance,” explained one unemployed man who had a winning ticket in the Spanish capital.

This year, for the first time, the state will tax any winnings over €2500 as part of austerity measures in Spain.

Ticket sales have also dropped this year with four percent fewer tickers bought as Spaniards tighten their belts for yet another year.