Prizes at the El-Nino Lottery in Spain exceeded all expectations this year, with $1.1 billion (€840 million) being awarded.The El-Nino has a drawing each year on January 6, when the Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated.
The game received its name not after the dreaded namesake hurricane, but after Baby Jesus. "El Nino" is Spanish for “The Child.”
To enter the lottery, one has to purchase a ticket that costs €20 ($26). The record sum given out this year was received by winners in the cities of Alicante, Leon, the capital city of Madrid, Murcia and Tenerife.
There is a catch, however. The maximum sum that can be won by a single player is restricted to €200,000 ($260,240), the Examiner writes.
Most of the winning tickets were registered in the large capital of Madrid. 200 lucky people struck gold here. Their prizes amounted to approximately €40 million ($52 million).
One of the ticket holders is Josefina, who did not wish to provide her surname to the press.
"I am very excited because I really needed this. [...] Now that I've won, I just think I've been very lucky," she describes her emotion.
As per Spanish law, she, as well as all the winners of the lottery, is obligated to pay a 20 percent income tax from her winnings.
Legislation on taxing lottery income is recent in Spain, and was brought forward by the latest economic crisis. The law provides for anyone winning over 2,500 euros ($3,250) to pay said tax; yet, prizes valued at lower than that are not taxable.
The "El Nino" is scheduled for the Feast of the Epiphany because the Bible spoke of three kings of the Orient visiting the son of God with gifts on that date.