Spain handing out $3B in planet's biggest lottery

AP , Monday 22 Dec 2014

The drawing is underway in Spain for the world's biggest lottery payoff, a 2.5 billion-euro ($3 billion) pot of cash that will be divided among thousands of ticketholders.

The top prize for this year's "El Gordo" (The Fat One) drawing are tickets that will win 400,000 euros ($490,000). Many more people who bought 20-euro ($24) tickets will take home smaller amounts.

Unlike lotteries that offer one large jackpot, Spain's Christmas season lottery distributes winnings to thousands.

It's the world's richest lottery. Spaniards are glued to televisions as awards are announced in a program that often lasts four hours.

Before Spain's economic implosion in 2008, winners often splurged on new cars, beach homes or vacations. Now many use winnings to pay off debt.

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