The Sideshow

Entire Spanish village wins lottery, minus one unlucky resident

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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Two winners of this year's El Gordo lottery. (Manuel Buque/EPA)

Back in December, the tiny Spanish village of Sodeto collectively won a major stake in the annual $950 million Spanish national lottery. Today, the New York Times reports, the village of farmers and construction workers is enjoying a minimum payout of $130,000 per resident.

And yet for all of the new wealth making its way around Sodeto, one villager came away empty-handed. Costis Mitsotakis, a Greek filmmaker who moved to the village for a woman, is the only resident of Sodeto who did not purchase a ticket. Mitsotakis says he is no longer with the woman and now lives in a barn he is restoring just outside the village. From the Times:

Mr. Mitsotakis said it would have been nice to win. But he has benefited nonetheless. He had been trying to sell some land without much success. The day after the lottery a neighbor called to say he would buy it. The next day another neighbor called. But Mr. Mitsotakis refused to get into a bidding war. "This is a small village," he said. "You don't want bad feelings."

Spain's national lottery, known as "El Gordo" (the fat one), was first established in 1812 and operates somewhat differently than most American lotteries. For example, this year there were 1,800 first-prize winning tickets, each with the same winning number of 58268. Each winning ticket was awarded a cash-prize equaling $520,000. But since each ticket costs $26, Spain allows them to be divided into as many as six "participations."

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