Queues for last-minute lottery ticket buying. | Kai Försterling, EFE

Millions of Spaniards are going to be glued to the TV tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, hoping that their lottery ticket or tickets for the El Gordo (Fat One) lottery hit the jackpot.

Spaniards today took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to snap up last-minute tickets for the world’s richest lottery. Long lines formed as people hoped to buy a winning share in El Gordo, which will hand out 2.24 billion euros. It is estimated that three-quarters of Spain’s 46 million people will take part in tomorrow’s lottery.

The Christmas tradition dates to 1812. The drawing is broadcast nationally, keeping hope-filled Spaniards stuck to radio and TV sets for hours as winning numbers are called out. Unlike lotteries offering one large jackpot, El Gordo keeps the top prize at 400,000 euros per ticket, enabling thousands of ticket-holders to be winners.

Last year, an upper middle-class neighbourhood in Madrid was home to the winners. More than 100 of the top winning tickets for last year’s 2.5 billion euro pot of cash were sold in the neighborhood, though 20 were also purchased in the southern city of Cadiz and a handful were sold in other cities across the nation.

The top prize has been won in the Balearics on eight occasions, the last time in 2012 in Ibiza. Last year, however, the Fat One passed the Balearics by, which is why this year people in the Balearics have spent an average of 35.8 euros on lottery tickets, one of the lowest amounts in the country. Last year, for example, the average spend was 62 euros.