Monday. 04.03.2024

The main prizes in this year's El Nino lottery went to the La Rioja region in northern Spain, where 100 million euros (113 million dollars) were set to be paid out following Thursday's draw.

Thanks to the lottery, 700 million euros were to be paid out nationwide, but the main winner was Logrono, the capital of the province of La Rioja. Local winners celebrated with cheer and glasses of the region's famous red wine.

The main prize of 2 million euros was won 50 times over, as each of the 100,000 tickets is sold 50 times to cater to strong demand.

All the winning tickets - divided up into one-tenths - were sold in Logrono, and almost all of those from a single stand in the city of some 150,000 inhabitants, which dates back to the Roman era.

Winners celebrating in front of the stand recalled Mari Carmen, who ran it for years, up to her death in 2020. "She would have been very happy," one of her grandsons said as passing cars hooted their appreciation, the local newspaper, La Rioja, reported.

Among the winners were some who had been down on their luck until Thursday. Juan Jimenez, 45, unemployed for the past four years and with a mother suffering from Alzheimer's to care for, won 200,000 euros with his one-tenth ticket that he bought for 20 euros.

Scarcely believing his luck, he was shown waving his ticket under the noses of bystanders, who embraced him. "I'll pay off the mortgage and buy a new car, and pay of loads of debt," he shouted to the journalists gathered to watch the celebrations.

Winners in need

"There are many in need who have won," said a woman standing in front of La Trompeta de Plata, a local cafe.

The second prize of 37.5 million euros was more widely distributed, going to punters in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Málaga and the Basque country among other places.

Many in the country had sat glued to their screens, whether at home or in cafes, as the draw was broadcast live from Madrid on the Epiphany holiday.

El Nino - the Christ Child - has been drawn since 1941. It takes second place to the Christmas lottery known as El Gordo - the Fat One. El Gordo goes back more than 200 years and is said to be the largest and oldest lottery in the world.

Red wine flows as La Rioja wins 100 million in Spain's El Nino lottery