However, each of the 66,000 tickets is duplicated many times (this year, 1,900 times), so someone really obsessive might buy all 1,900 €20 tickets for a number and stand to win €380 million or lose €38 thousand. It's a big Spanish tradition on the Saturday before Christmas; they have kids singing the numbers and prizes in a glitzy, all-singing, all-dancing draw. Apparently one of the consequences of conversion from the peseta to the euro is that "€2,000,000" has far fewer syllables to sing than "239,595,840 Ptas.", so one hopes there is more dancing to compensate for the less singing.
(Technically, that link refers to El Niño, Spain's second biggest annual lottery, next scheduled for January 6th: similar, but 100,000 tickets not 66,000, each € ticket repeated 400 times, top payout is 8,000-for-1, 8,613 of the 100,000 tickets return profits, 29,999 of the 100,000 tickets return the stake, again 70% overall payout, 43% less dancing. Source. Searching web pages in languages you don't speak is tremendously good fun when you can figure things out from context.)
However, the name El Gordo has been purloined for at least one other prediction game; here is where I kindly request your assistance. A list of sporting, political, cultural, financial or other categories is given; each player must predict, some time in advance, who the single outstanding performer within that category as requested is. 60 points are split between all players who guess correctly. Accordingly, being the only player to pick an outsider who proves victorious may return several times more points than picking a favourite. I understand there are only ten players in this game, so the totalisator is not expected to be at all a precise one; I suspect the likely effect of this is to put equal odds against all but the three or four favourites in each case.
Anyway, here are the categories for the game I'm playing, plus my suggestions. If any of you have hot tips or value suggestions, please pipe up with promptness. (And with reasons. Reasons good.) I'm not expecting everyone to opine on everything, but if you have a specialist subject, please let me borrow your expertise. Yes, there is rather a British bias. No prizes, this is just for fun.
2. Australian Open Women's Champion Justine Henin Hardenne
4. Rugby Union Six Nations runner-up France
5. Democratic nomination for US President Howard Dean
6. World Snooker Champion Mark Williams
7. Italian Serie A football league winner AC Milan
8. FA Cup football winner Manchester United
9. # of seats won by Labour at European Elections 27
10. UK men's croquet champion (see the rankings - note that the game's organiser is there, ranked #108.) Reg Bamford
11. European Nations football Championship 2004 winners France
12. Ice Hockey's Stanley Cup Winner New Jersey Devils
13. Round in which Tim Henman is eliminated at Wimbledon Last 16
16. Olympic men's 100 metre champion Deji Aliu
17. Cricket county champions Surrey
18. Formula One Championship runner-up Kimi Raikkonen
19. Winner of cycling's Tour de France Alexandre Vinokourov
20. Rugby League's Super League winner Leeds
21. FTSE 100 financial index at 30/9/04, +/- 50 points 4747
22. US PGA golf champion Vijay Singh
23. Bank of England interest rate at 31/12/04 4.25%
24. Price of a litre of petrol at organiser's local BP garage in London at 31/12/04, +/- 2p 79.9p
...and, for completeness, though I don't expect you (unless you're the_maenad) to be able to help with any of these...
1. Zine Poll 2003 winner Ode
3. Oxcon Settlers of Catan tournament champion Markus Welbourne
14. 2004 World Diplomacy Champion Brian Dennehy
15. 2004 Manorcon Croquet Champion Nicholas David Alfred Parish
25. Number of most recent issue of the zine in which this appeared at 31/12/04 66
Incidentally, I would be prepared to run a similar prediction game myself if there is the demand. Choosing the categories is always fun, but the constituency of players is not clear. As it's my Friends list, I suppose I could include some particularly lurid or LiveJournal-related personal categories, but good taste should perhaps prevail.
Unrelated: inspired by Peter Sarrett and alice_and_lain, a tech prediction. In two years, between 1% and 10% of weblogs will distribute video clips instead of HTML. (Over 90% of video weblogs would be better as HTML weblogs because it's quicker to read text than to watch video, but many will use video's advantages as an improvement. The adult industry will drive the technology, as usual.) Whether RSS is still in use, whether the distribution method of choice is Atom or something else, there will be so many similarities between following your favourite video weblogs through an aggregator (eg add RSS feeds to your Friends page) and following your favourite TV shows through a PVR (eg TiVo) that the world will want to treat both broadcast TV content and narrowcast video weblog content in the same way using the same apparatus. No longer will LiveJournal's adverts say "Be heard", they'll say "Be seen and heard"!
* ...OK, US$24.87.