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Spain dishes out $2.43 bn in bumper X-mas lottery

Barcelona: The lucky holders of ticket number 26590 struck it rich in Spain on Sunday when they won the top prize in the nation's bumper Christmas lottery.

The top-prize winning number, known as El Gordo (The Fat One), worth 400,000 euros (USD 436,000) fell out of the enormous metallic shuffling bins in a live televised event. The winners won 20,000 euros for each euro spent on a 20-euro ticket.

The incredibly popular lottery dishes out a total of 2.24 billion euros (USD 2.43 billion) in prizes this year, including lots of smaller prizes.

Other lotteries have bigger individual top prizes but Spain's Christmas lottery, held each year on Dec. 22, is ranked as the world's richest for the total prize money involved.

The winning tickets were sold in the northeastern provinces of Tarragona and Barcelona, in central Madrid and Salamanca, and in southern Alicante, Murcia and Seville.

Winners of the top prize will pay 76,000 euros (USD 84,000) in taxes. Prizes up to 20,000 euros (USD 22,000) are exempt from taxes.

Children from Madrid's San Ildefonso school called out the prizes on a nationally televised draw at Madrid's Teatro Real opera house.

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