The El Gordo Lottery draw usually spreads Christmas cheer in all areas of Spain. This year, however, a bit of controversy has surfaced to dampen the spirits of some of the winners.
The problem originated from a company called Vicente Producciones Artísticas, an organizer of fiestas. As it had done in years past, the company handed out gift packages to its clients, town mayors among them. The gift package contained a calendar and a few shares of El Gordo tickets. This year though, the tickets won.
People started questioning who the prize money should belong to. Many of the mayors quickly resolved the issue by saying any proceeds are to be spent for the municipality. Some others incurred the ire of their constituents by claiming the gift that included the tickets was given to them, so any prize money belongs to them alone. The company that gave the tickets added fuel to the fire by saying the gifts were given on a personal level – to the mayors, and not the towns.
Some people believe that since the contracts for the fiestas were paid for by public funds, the municipality should have the money. A prosecutor refused to rule on the legality without going to court. Some people have even taken it further by introducing changes to ordinances that would make it illegal for mayors to benefit from such gifts in the future.