Once again, for the 10th straight year, the staff and editors of A.M. Costa Rica were shut out in the Gordo Christmas lottery.
Despite weeks of studying on how to beat the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on taxes from lottery windfalls, editors saw other numbers come up.
The big winner was a ticket with the number 41 and the series 744. Workers for the Junta de Protección Social pulled the numbers early in the evening show at Plaza de la Democracia just east of the Museum Nacional in San José.
There are five duplicate tickets, one for what the junta calls an emision. Each ticket holder will get a billion colons or about $2 million. There are 40 tickets to a sheet or entero. And there is a high probability that a number of persons purchased pieces of the winning tickets. Each ticket or fracción cost 1,250 colons or about $2.50. On the street such tickets are call pedacitos.The big winner, of course, was the Junta. The lottery nearly sold out, in part thanks to a rush Sunday afternoon. An estimated 96 percent of the possible 500,000 tickets found buyers. The estimated gross income for the Junta was 24 billion colons or about $48 million. If every winner shows up, the Junta will pay out 14 billion colons in prizes, about $28 million.
Of course there is overhead. Among other expenses, the Junta said it is setting up a pension plan for lottery vendors. What is left after expenses, salaries, promotion and distribution costs goes to various charities in Costa Rica.
The Junta always puts on a big show for the Christmas lottery. Television stations cover the event live. This year was special, too, because it is the 165th anniversary of the government lottery in Costa Rica. There are two special lottery drawings scheduled before the year is out.
And there is a drawing every week with lesser prizes.
Editors and staffers have not won any of them either. But if a reader won, he or she has until Feb. 17 to collect. A full list of winning numbers is on the Junta’s Web page.