$1.1 Billion Lottery: Hundreds Win Spain’s ‘El Nino’ Game

The El Nino lottery in Spain just handed out more than $1.1 billion.

According to the Associated Press, the El Nino lottery is held every year on the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. This year, the $1.1 billion lottery was handed out to winners in Alicante, Leon, Madrid, Murcia and Tenerife.

Unlike typical American lotteries, the purpose of El Nino is to distribute small portions of the winnings to hundreds of people. Fox 8 reports that tickets cost about $25 and the most anyone can win is $260,240 (€200,000).

The El Nino lottery gave a lot of people in Spain some extra cash but it also pumps some money into Spain’s economy since anyone who makes $3,250 will have to pay a 20% tax.

One winner in Alcorcon said:

“I am very excited because I really needed this … Now that I’ve won, I just think I’ve been very lucky.”

Surprisingly, El Nino isn’t Spain’s must lucrative lottery. The $1.1 billion lottery doesn’t even compare to El Gordo, which is held every year on December 22. El Gordo, or The Fat One, gave away $3.3 billion last year.

According to ElGordo.com, the El Nino lottery is an official lottery organized by the Spanish government. It has been played since 1763.