How to Play El Gordo de Navidad

El Gordo de Navidad is more like a raffle than a typical lottery. Players are given a random number and then a lavish draw takes place on 22nd December. A host of winning numbers are drawn, with each one assigned a different prize value. The ultimate goal for players is to win El Gordo, the top prize which is worth €4 million per billete.


Players can take part in El Gordo by either visiting authorised retailers in Spain or choosing numbers online from anywhere in the world.

When players enter, they will be given a random five-digit number. Each ticket is split into tenths, so it is up to players to decide how many tenths they wish to buy.

  • Billete - The name given to a full El Gordo ticket
  • Decimo - One tenth of a billete is known as a decimo. All ten decimos in a single billete will have the same five-digit number.
  • Series - There are 100,000 billetes in one series, consisting of all the different number combinations from 00000 to 99999. Multiple series are sold for each draw so that tickets will not run out. In some previous years, for example, 160 series have been made available.

The Draw

Two massive ball machines, known as 'bombos', are used for the El Gordo de Navidad draw. One of the machines contains all the different number combinations, and the other contains balls which determine the prize values. A ball is randomly pulled from each machine simultaneously and the draw is broadcast on live television so that players can instantly see if they have matched the winning number and find out their prize.

If the number 12345 is drawn at the same time as the ball denoting the first prize, for example, players with matching decimos or billetes can instantly see that they have won El Gordo.


The use of series means that the same number will be printed multiple times. However, prizes are not split between all the players and are instead guaranteed for all the winners. Everyone who buys one billete and wins El Gordo, for example, receives €4 million, while winners who just buy a single decimo and match the top prize still get €400,000 each.

Visit the Prizes page to find out all the different ways you can win.