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Spanish lottery spreads Xmas cheer

2010-12-24 03:06:48 GMT2010-12-24 11:06:48 (Beijing Time)

Christmas came early for the winners of Spain's two-hundred year old annual lottery 'El Gordo' or 'The Fat One' as thousands share in the 2.3 billion euro lottery.

This is one Christmas these people will never forget.

They're all winners of Spain's two-hundred year old annual Christmas lottery 'El Gordo' or 'The Fat One'.

These girls shout 'we're millionaires, millionaires'

And this couple say they've won 300 thousand euros.

And there's plenty more like them.

'El Gordo' boasts the biggest payout of any lottery in the world - 2.32 billion euros.

But with a single ticket costing 200 euros there are few instant millionaires.

Instead people club together buying stips of 10.

Each 'tenth' costs 20 euros and only those who bought an entire strip get the full prize.

Less then 200 people had the winning number - Pedro Gomez had two netting him 600 hundred thousand euros.

"I asked for it for my kids, and I got it for my kids. My kids are my soul. What I love most in this world. It's for them!"

But this year's draw may be the last publicly run Christmas lottery.

The government wants to partly privatise it - selling off 30 percent of the state lottery worth around 2.6 billion euros in revenues.

A government spokesman said it expected to raise 5 billion euros if sold - bringing in some much needed cash for Spain's debt laden economy.

But the country's dire financial woes could not wipe the smiles off the faces of these winners.

Hayley Platt, Reuters.

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