Last resort, a bet on ‘El Gordo’?

On news that Paul Murphy did rather well in a Christmas raffle (collecting several prizes, including one pair of oven gloves), it leads the rest of the team to wonder if perhaps putting one’s faith in lotteries and raffles isn’t such a bad idea in these days of woeful financial returns.

The Spanish certainly seem to think so.

On Dec 22nd the nation will await with bated breath the outcome of the world’s biggest jackpot draw – Spain’s ‘El gordo’ lottery. At the last check the total prize fund amounted to over €2.3 bn. And it seems even a slowdown isn’t stopping the Spanish from rushing to pick up tickets that come at no less than €20 a pop.

All in all, it does seem to make investment sense because unlike other draws El Gordo (aka the ‘Fat One’) features a staggering number of mega jackpot prizes. For example there will be up to 195 €3m-cash winners.

It’s no wonder therefore that demand for El Gordo tickets is significantly outstripping that of other lotteries around Europe, where a consumer spending slowdown is beginning to have a noticeable impact on lottery sales according to AFP:

The strong demand bucks the trend in other major European nations where cash-strapped consumers have dropped lottery tickets from holiday shopping lists, causing a noticeable slump in sales. An estimated four in five Spaniards bought tickets for the lottery in 2007, spending on average 64 euros (88 dollars) each for a total of 2.87 billion euros.

The state lottery commission predicts they will spend roughly the same amount this year despite hard times. Why? Partly because “El Gordo” is a strong tradition stretching back to 1812, said commission head Gonzalo Fernandez Rodriguez. It has become as much a part of Christmas as the Biblical Magi — the three wise men who in Spain bring children gifts on January 6 to mark the Christian feast of the Epiphany — and Cava, Spain’s version of champagne, he said. “It is difficult to conceive of Christmas in Spain without the Christmas lottery,” Rodriguez told AFP. “El Gordo” is also designed to give as many people as possible a windfall just before the holidays.

A whopping 70 percent of the intake goes back into cash prizes — far more than in other state-run lotteries used to finance social projects. Instead of a few jackpots, there are millions of cash prizes ranging from the 20-euro face value of a ticket to 300,000 euros for the first-prize number.

Last chance to buy a ticket is Dec 21st. We think we may get Paul on the case, considering his recent luck.

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