“I haven’t processed it yet. I was in the mountains with the dogs,” said Jose Manuel Fernandez, who had a share in one of the tickets. “My wife didn’t believe it, she began to scream. We’re not used to winning.”
In the months leading up to the draw, in which a larger number of smaller prizes are also distributed, many Spaniards club together to buy tickets or fractions of them, often favoring particular vendors or numbers.
“You never expect it,” said Javier Monino whose recently acquired kiosk in Madrid’s Atocha train station sold tickets worth more than 500 million euros in prizes.
“You always think you might sell it, then it happens,” hy het gesê, before spraying champagne outside his concession.
But not everyone was in high spirits. Some sellers walked off the job in protest at the 4% commission they get on Christmas tickets, in vergelyking met 6% on other draws, leaving them struggling to make ends meet, hulle sê.
“Dit was 17 years that we’ve received the same commission,” said Natalia de la Fuente, 31, the daughter of a lottery seller.
“Prices go up, taxes go up and the commissions remain the same […] This is impossible.”
She joined dozens of chanting protesters outside Madrid’s Teatro Real, where the draw takes place.
Binne, pairs of schoolchildren picked the winning numbers and sang them out to an enthusiastic crowd sporting extravagant costumes, ranging from Santa’s elves to the pope.