Spanish Panhandler Becomes Latest Lottery Millionaire

They say that anyone can win the lottery. A homeless woman in Alicante, Spain, proved this when she became a new millionaire after winning the draw of the country’s Bonoloto lottery on August 1.

Tobacco store in Alicante, Spain
Tobacco store in Alicante, Spain
The inside of a Tobacco store in Alicante, Spain. Here, a beggar became a millionaire on August 1. (Image: Estanco 54)

The unidentified woman bought the ticket at a local shop where she frequently passed her time asking strangers and passers-by for spare change. Often, she would take some of the money to buy a lottery ticket in hopes of getting out of her situation.

It finally happened last week. The panhandler won €1.27 million (US$1.29 million), according to media outlet Información, in a life-altering moment.

From Shock to Awe

At first, the woman did not believe that she had won the prize. So, the following day, she again took €1 (US$1.02) of her money and purchased another ticket. The Bonoloto and La Primativa were the only lotteries she would play, as the EuroMillions was too expensive.

As she was buying her next ticket, she took a second to double-check the numbers from the previous. That was when reality sunk in and she fully realized that she was now an instant millionaire.

The winner won’t take home the full amount, but will still be able to make some changes to her daily routine. Until 2013, there was no tax on lottery winnings. Since then, however, the government implemented a tax rate, but now offers an exemption on the first €40,000 (US$44,840). As such, the woman will have to give up 20% in taxes.

Bonoloto Remains Wildly Popular

The Bonoloto, because of its cost, is the most popular lottery in Spain. It made its debut in 1988 and continues to gain ground.

To play, just like with many lottery products, players choose six numbers in a table from 1 to 49. Each bet is worth €.50 (US0.51) and players have to make at least two six-number selections. 55% of all collected money goes back to the lottery prizes.

The bettors have the option to play a simple bet with six numbers. In addition, there is also a multiple bet in which up to a maximum of 11 numbers can be selected. As players choose more numbers and multiple options, the chances of winning increase, but so does the cost.

Millions Won in Spain This Year

There have been a number of big lottery winners in Spain this year, but the biggest was in January. Winning tickets for the annual Lotería del Niño (The Children’s Lottery) in January received €2 million (US$2.04 million) each for claiming the top prize.

There were other winners, as well, who received massive payouts. Second-place winners earned €75,000 (US$76,462), while third-place tickets were worth €25,000 (US$25,487). In total, the lottery awarded over €700 million (US$713.65 million) in cash.

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