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Three out of four Spanish residents buy the Lotería de Navidad (Spanish Christmas Lottery)

According to a report from UC3M and CODERE

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid


IMAGE: This is a lottery ticket. view more 

Credit: UC3M

El Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad (the Special Christmas Lottery Drawing) represents approximately 50 percent of the annual State Lottery sales and involves between 2,400 and 3,000 million euros each year. It is the largest lottery drawing in the world and in Spain its social impact is equivalent to the population participating in general elections, according to the Annual Report, which separates out gaming activity, its figures and socioeconomic data. Spanish society participates in this drawing through individual purchases, sharing of tenths of participations with families and friends, as well as large volume sales of tickets by associations and clubs who finance themselves in this way.

"La Lotería de Navidad and in someways, el Sorteo del Niño (the "Christ Child" Lottery Drawing on the Epiphany) can be thought of like breaking an Olympic record. ...its place in the Spanish imagination puts it above any kind of crisis. You might temporarily suffer, but you get over it almost immediately", pointed out the technical director of the research team for the report, José Antonio Gómez Yáñez, UC3M sociology professor and member of the Instituto Universitario de Política y Gobernanza (University Institute of Policy and Governance).

Motivations to play

This study asserts that the Lotería de Navidad is purchased because of custom (84.7%), social pressure, and because of a type of preventative envy: "just in case someone I know wins and I don't". The only social sectors not part of the social snowball effect of the drawing are those under 25 (less than half of this group buy Lotería de Navidad), and those who do not play so as not to lose, according to the report's authors. However, in both of these sectors there has been a significant increase in sales, in line with a general increase of 4.8% for the Lotería de Navidad with respect to 2013.

The percentage of those who purchase Lotería de Navidad through the Internet channel has grown steadily since 2013 by 0.7% that year to 2.9% during Christmas of 2016. These sales were carried out through the online administration, other specialized webs and the corporate web of the Sociedad Estatal Loterías y Apuestas del Estado -SELAE (Spanish State Lotteries). As a result, the SELAE official websites (and other regional lotteries) and the ONCE (The Spanish Association for the Blind) distributed nearly 122 million euros in prizes through this channel, of which 17.4 million euros corresponded to the Lotería de Navidad drawing.

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