African Migrant One Winner of Spain’s Christmas Lottery


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Winning lottery payments can be a life-changing experience for anyone, but for an African migrant struggling to get by in a foreign country it must be more like a godsend. Every year the Spanish lottery holds their annual Christmas lottery, or El Gordo, drawing. This year the winners included 35 African migrants, according to

One of those African migrants was Ngame, a Senegalese man who declined to provide his last name to reporters. Ngame was actually rescued by members of Spain’s cost guard in 2007 when they came across their boat carrying about 65 migrants traveling from Africa’s western coast toward Spain’s Canary Islands.

Ngame was in tears outside of the lottery office as he waited to collect his lottery payments.

“Today I thank the Spanish government, the Spaniards too,” Ngame told Ondacero radio. “They saved us when we were in the middle of the sea.”

The Spanish Christmas lottery is an internationally known phenomenon that is played and followed by many. Literally thousands of people win lesser prizes until eventually the jackpot “El Gordo” winner is drawn. This can be taken in a lump sum versus annuity settlement, or in annuity similar to the Mega Millions. The Mega Millions lottery annuity is paid out as one immediate payment followed by 29 annual payments, which grow by 5% each year.

It’s unclear exactly what Ngame does for a living, but he reportedly lives near Roquetas de Mar, which is a province in Almeria. The area is known for employing many migrant workers in greenhouses and as laborers. Chances are he won’t be reporting to work on Monday if that’s the case as over half (52%) of lottery winners quit their old jobs.

Ngame has said he’s not sure what he’s going to do with the money yet. It’s a decision he plans to make with his wife. Whatever he decides hopefully the migrant from Africa is savvy enough to save or invest a portion of it wisely. Overall, winners lose or spend all their lottery payments in five years or less 70% of the time.

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