Spanish Lottery History

The National Lottery in Spain was created on 30 September, 1763 and the first draw took place on 10 December of the same year. This lottery is currently known as La Primitiva.

Spain’s lottery has historically had a close association with Saint Ildefonso School in Madrid*, a Spanish institution which is dedicated to the care and education of orphans, and which is in the habit of conducting educational activity outdoors as well as inside the school itself. The school participates in the celebration of lottery draws, liturgies, other public festivities, and has done ever since students participated in a lottery draw that took place on March 9, 1771. The school is, even today, the official site of lottery drawings.

In 1811 a new lottery project was presented to the Cádiz court, with the purpose of generating a National Lottery. The aim of the project was to support the Public Treasury, which had been badly affected by the Independence Wars, and it was based on a lottery established by Carlos III in New Spain, which is now Mexico but was at that time a Spanish colony in South America. The idea was that the lottery would provide additional Public Treasury funds without the government having to raise regular taxes – an idea that was approved on 23 November, 1811. (It is worth pointing out that the main purpose of lotteries worldwide is almost always to raise money for the benefit of society at large.) The new lottery draw, which was named Lotería Moderna, was not meant to replace the original lottery, La Primitiva.

The first drawing of the Lotería Moderna game draw took place in Cádiz, on March 4, 1812. Initially, the lottery headquarters had been based in Cádiz, but it then it to San Fernando. Later, as Napoleon’s army gained new territories, the headquarters were moved to Ceuta and then to Madrid, where they remain.

For more information on the history of the National lottery in Spain


*Colegio De San Ildefonso

Calle de Alfonso VI, 1,
28005 Madrid
Spain