Expats have another long, long shot at improving their finances.
The Junta de Protección Social is pulling numbers next Sunday for a lottery that is fatter than usual. By no means is this gordito richer than the traditional Christmas lottery, but the top prize is 240 million colons or about $480,000.
The usual Sunday lottery has a top prize of about 23 percent of that.
To win all one has to do is purchase the ticket with the correct two numbers and the correct three-digit series. The numbers are picked by use of three rotating baskets. One provides the number. One provides the series, and one provides the amount of the prize. In all, there are nearly 400 prizes. There are 450,000 tickets, so expats would have a one in a 1,125 chance of at least winning something.
The drawing will be televised live, as are nearly all lottery events.
Th lottery tickets are 12,000 colons, but someone could purchase a tenth of a ticket for 1,200 colons. Frequently groups of employees, family members and neighbors buy a full ticket, and the celebration is intense when the number comes up. The trick is finding an acceptable number from the limited supply available at sales outlets.
The Junta makes a huge profit on the lottery and uses the money for hundreds of social programs and organizations.
Tickets are available from registered lottery vendors on the streets and in storefront agencies. Most will not try to sell expats tickets at more than face value. Vendors will shout out the numbers they have to attract those seeking a favored arrangement of digits.