Spain's annual Christmas lottery pays out nearly $1 billion

MADRID, SPAIN (CNN) - Spain's annual Christmas lottery, "El Gordo," paid out about $950 million overall, and most of the lucky winners were in the historic town of Alcala de Henares, near Madrid.

In a working-class neighborhood with many immigrants, those who had the winning number on their typical $26 ticket are getting a return of $528,000.

Local media reported that one man bought ten of the $26 tickets and gave them to his family, which is now $5.2 million richer.

El Gordo winners also could be found in 15 provinces across Spain.

The drawing, in Madrid's opera house, was televised live across Spain because so many people play.

But in the deep economic crisis with 25 percent unemployment, Spaniards spent 8 percent less on lottery tickets this year.

The tradition started 200 years ago and every Spaniard knows the tune the children sing when pulling out the winning number.

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