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'Luck' is more than a name for Spanish town

/ Source: The Associated Press

Tickets bought in a town whose name means “Luck” shared the top prize Wednesday in Spain’s El Gordo Christmas lottery, the biggest pot in the world.

The winning coupon number — known as El Gordo, or the Fat One — was 54600 and was picked from the golden drums by school children who sang it out in a time-honored cadence.

The Gordo uses a complex system of shared numbers that divides wealth among millions of people holding numbers that go from 00001 to 66,000. Complicating matters further, each of those 66,000 numbers is repeated 195 times with different serial numbers.

All 195 tickets bearing this year’s winning number were sold in the Catalan town of Sort, whose name means luck in the northeastern region’s language.

The tickets, carrying a total of $2.8 million in prize money, were sold in the town’s single lottery outlet, named the “The Golden Witch.”

The standard coupon costs $28 and can earn its holder a maximum $280,000.

Sort has sold many winning tickets over the years, including many of the top-prize tickets in last year’s Gordo. As a result, thousands of people from all over Spain flock each year to the town to try their luck.

Billed as the world’s richest, the Dec. 22 lottery gives out $2.4 billion in winnings.

The lottery, broadcast nationally, has Spaniards across the country glued to radio and TV sets for some three hours in the hope some of the wealth falls on them. An estimated three-quarters of the country’s population of just over 40 million take part in the lottery.