$1.1 Billion Lottery: El Nino Prize Money In Spain Comes At A Price — 20 Percent Income Tax

Five lucky winners of Sunday’s $1.1 billion El Nino lottery in Spain each took home more than $260,000, but their fortune comes at a price: due to the country’s austerity measures, the lottery recipients must pay 20 percent in income taxes.

The El Nino lottery is conducted during the Feast of the Epiphany. “El Nino” refers to the baby Jesus, who, according to Spanish tradition, was visited on the feast day by three kings from the Orient who gave him gifts, the Associated Press reported.

The most anyone can win in the $1.1 billion lottery is $260,240, which was doled out to five people in Alicante, Leon, Madrid, Murcia and Tenerife, the AP said. Each ticket costs $26.

A chunk of their winnings will go toward income taxes after Spain implemented austerity measures that include a 20 percent tax on any lottery winnings above $3,250.

In one ticket office in Alcoron, a suburb of Madrid, $52 million in winnings was awarded among 200 ticket holders, the AP reported.

On the day of the $1.1 billion lottery, crowds gathered at the office to cheer their neighbors’ good fortune.

“I am very excited because I really needed this,” said a woman who only identified herself as Josefina and was one of three winners in the crowd, the AP reported.

While the El Nino lottery doles out a combined $1.1 billion, it’s not the biggest lottery in Spain.

That distinction goes to El Gordo, or “The Fat One,” which is held on Dec. 22 and awards three times as much lottery prize money as El Nino, the AP reported.

Last year, $3.3 billion was distributed during El Gordo. 

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