El Gordo de la Primitiva, which loosely translates as simply ‘the big one’, is a weekly state operated lottery draw from Spain that can offer jackpots of €30,000,000 or more.
The draw takes place just once per week on a Sunday afternoon at 13:00 (CET) and the results are verified and published the following morning.
To play El Gordo, you must choose five numbers from the first pool of between 1 and 54 and one number from a second pool of between 0 and 9. No, that’s not a typo. Somewhat unusually, El Gordo features a Key Number ‘zero’.
What can I expect to win?
If you match the Key Number but you fail to match two or more main lottery numbers you will receive €1.50, which is the cost of your entry. If you match two main lottery balls but not the Key Number, you will receive €3. All other prizes are calculated on a pari-mutuel basis, which means that the prize value of each tier is representative of the numbers of tickets sold for the draw and the number of winners of each prize tier.
|Numbers Matched||Average Payouts (€)|
|5 + Key Number||€5,000,000|
|4 + Key Number||€8,000|
|3 + Key Number||€45|
|2 + Key Number||€6|
|Key Number Only||€1.50|
El Gordo de la Primitiva payouts – chances of winning
The payout structure for El Gordo de la Primitiva is somewhat more complicated than your average lottery draw. Of the total ticket revenue, 45% goes to the Spanish Government, who operates the draw. 10% of the ticket revenue is allocated to a reserve fund for paying back refund tickets (tickets with a correctly selected Key Number) and the remaining 45% is allocated to the prize fund.
The prize is then divided using the following method. ‘Match 2’ €3 prizes are paid out first then the remaining prize fund is paid out to winners using the percentages listed in the table below. All players who match the Key Number but who do not match two or more main lottery balls are entitled to a refund for that entry. This money is paid from the 10% allocation of ticket sales and not from the prize fund.
At 31.6 million to 1, El Gordo offers very reasonable odds of winning the jackpot but, as ticket sales for the Spanish lottery aren’t as brisk for bigger draws like the EuroMillions, you can expect rollovers a’plenty.
|Numbers Matched||Odds of Winning||Share of Prize Pool*|
|5 + Key Number||1 in 31,625,100||22%|
|5||1 in 3,513,900||33%|
|4 + Key Number||1 in 129,082||6%|
|4||1 in 14,342||7%|
|3 + Key Number||1 in 2,689||8%|
|3||1 in 299||26%|
|2 + Key Number||1 in 172||6%|
|2||1 in 19||€3|
|Key Number Only||1 in 10||Ticket refund|
* = % of remaining prize pool after €3 prizes have been allocated.
Winning the El Gordo de la Primitiva jackpot
You win all of or at least a share of the El Gordo jackpot by matching the all five main lottery balls and the Key Number ball. If you’re the only player to match all five main lottery balls and the Key Number ball you walk away with the entire jackpot. If more than one ticket holder matches the required balls, the prize fund is divided equally between all winners. Note that all Spanish lottery prizes that exceed €2,500 are subject to 20% taxation.