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La Primitiva is officially well over 250 years old, although the modern game was revived in 1985 - which still makes it one of the oldest lotteries of the late 20th century. It was originally designed to raise public funds for Spain without any taxation, although in recent years a 20% tax has been charged on prizes over €2,500. It remains hugely popular both within Spain and internationally via lottery courier services, and with good overall odds and prizes, plus the romance of centuries-old heritage, it's the perfect package for many players. There are two chances to win each week, with draws made in Madrid at 9:30pm CET on Thursdays and Saturdays.

If there’s a question about La Primitiva that you need answering, take a look at the FAQ section which can be found at the bottom of this page.

La Primitiva Number Generator

Number of Lines

How to Play

To play La Primitiva, you must choose six numbers from 1-49. When buying a physical ticket, you can also mark up to 11 numbers and the lottery terminal will automatically place lines containing all of the possible six-ball combinations from among this selection, up to a maximum of 462 lines. Likewise, if you mark off only five numbers, the terminal will place these along with every possible remaining sixth number - a total of 44 unique lines.

Standard tickets cost €1.00 each, with an extra €1.00 charge if you choose to play the JOKER supplementary game described in more detail below. Each ticket also receives a one-digit Reintegro number (which translates as Refund or Reimbursement and can be chosen by the player or automatically allocated). Matching this number to the ball drawn from a second pot of 0-9 will win you an appropriate, scalable reimbursement of your ticket price.

Match anywhere from three to all six main balls for a higher payout. Match five main balls and the Complementary number (a seventh ball drawn from the main pot) and you'll receive a boost, while for all six main balls and the Reintegro number there is a Special jackpot on top of the Regular six-ball jackpot, which can potentially exceed amounts of €100 million.

Why to Play

La Primitiva has plenty of great reasons to play, starting with its history and heritage dating back over 250 years, which gives an extra sense of romance to a lottery that holds its own against many of the more modern games launched in the late 20th century and beyond.

The standard format - 6 from 49 – may be familiar to veteran lottery players, but there are a few extra perks to La Primitiva’s setup too. The Reintegro number means you have a 1 in 10 chance of having whatever the cost of your ticket was reimbursed, and this is paid as cash rather than a free entry into an upcoming draw.

At the top end of the prize chart, the Reintegro number also boosts jackpots by paying out the Special jackpot on top of the prize for matching the six main balls - adding a potentially massive payday which, at odds of around 1 in 139 million, is equal to, if not more likely than many other comparable lotteries' top prizes.

Supplementary Games

JOKER is La Primitiva's supplementary game, launched in September 2012 at an extra cost of €1.00 per ticket. In each JOKER draw, ten balls marked 0-9 are placed into a drum and seven balls are drawn, with each ball replaced back into the drum so all seven digits can be anything from 0.000.000 – 9.999.999. The result is a random seven-digit number with prizes ranging from €1 for matching the first or last digit to €1 million for matching all seven. Matches must be in the correct order and position.

You cannot choose your own JOKER number, but instead you will receive a random seven-digit number when you buy your ticket - the odds of matching the exact number in full are therefore a simple 1 in 10 million.

Prizes and Odds of Winning

The lowest two prizes - the appropriate payment for matching the Reimbursement number and the €8.00 for matching three main draw balls - are fixed. For higher prizes, the payout depends on a percentage of the prize fund and on how many people win at that level, as the prize fund is shared between all winning tickets. For the jackpot - won by matching the six main draw balls and the Reimbursement number - the biggest factor is how many times it has already rolled over since last being won.

The table below shows the prizes for matching the relevant number of main balls plus the Reimbursement or Complementary ball (marked R and C respectively) where these apply. Prize values are approximate, based on real draw data from 2016, but actual payouts will vary from draw to draw.

The possibility of matching the Reimbursement number for ticket price reimbursement means everyone has a better than 1 in 10 chance of getting the amount you spent back from each draw. Beyond that, the odds should be familiar to anyone who has played lottery games with the same 6-from-49 format, with the exception of the top jackpot, which requires the Reimbursement number to be matched too, taking the odds to about 1 in 139 million.

Interestingly, not only are the odds the same as the German 6aus49 lottery lottery, but the rules are too; on both games the seventh number (the Reimbursement number here and the Super number on 6aus49) cannot be chosen by the player, but is randomly assigned on each ticket, helping to even out the number of winners no matter which ball comes out of the pot.

Match Average Prize* Prize (% of Fund) Odds
6 + R €16,368,540.07 20% 1 in 139,838,160
6 €1,312,914.45 40% 1 in 13,983,816
5 + C €63,534.07 6% 1 in 2,330,636
5 €2,543.36 13% 1 in 55,491
4 €71.49 21% 1 in 1,032
3 €8 (Fixed Prize) Fixed prize (€8) 1 in 56.6
R Ticket Refund 10%* 1 in 10

*Average prize amounts for 2016.

*55% of the lottery’s proceeds is designated to paying out winners’ prizes. The 10% for the Reintegro is given first, leaving 45% to be distributed between the other prize categories.

JOKER

Below is the table for the Joker supplementary games and what each prize category requires and pays out.

Match Prize
All 7 numbers €1,000,000
First/last 6 numbers €10,000
First/last 5 numbers €1,000
First/last 4 numbers €300
First/last 3 numbers €50
First/last 2 numbers €5
First/last number €1

Payment Options

You can claim La Primitiva prizes from the first business day after the draw, assuming the results have been successfully verified. Smaller prizes - up to €2,500 - can be claimed from participating lottery retailers, while larger sums must be claimed at associated Spanish banks. Payments are made as a lump sum, with no annuity option, as is the case with most European lotteries.

Unusually, the rules of La Primitiva allow for claims to be made in exceptional circumstances even if you do not have the physical winning ticket; however, this is very rare, so if you are not buying your own ticket in person, you should be sure to purchase it through a reliable lottery courier service.

History

La Primitiva is officially one of the oldest lotteries in the world, dating back to December 10th 1763 - making it more than a quarter of a millennium old! King Carlos III created the draw as a way for Spain to raise more public funds, without introducing a new tax, and it was the country's only lottery until 1812. In that year a new 'Modern Lottery' was launched, and La Primitiva - the 'Primitive Lottery' - got the name it is still known by today.

Half a century later in 1862, play on La Primitiva was suspended, and it was only revived by government order in 1985, although this still ranks it among the oldest of the latter 20th century's lotteries.

Finally, in late 2012, the Special jackpot was introduced for matching all six main balls and the Reintegro or Reimbursement number - this pays out on top of the old jackpot for the six main balls without the R-number.

In October 2015, the largest-ever La Primitiva jackpot was won by a single ticket in Barcelona; the jackpot was valued at an estimated €101 million.

Changes in October 2018 meant that players are now able to choose their Reintegro number if they like, and the JOKER game’s prize structure changed slightly to pay out on players matching either the first or last number.

Where to Play

La Primitiva is played throughout Spain with tickets sold through a network of participating retailers. Spanish residents can also buy tickets online.

If you are outside of Spain, you can also buy tickets online via a lottery courier service. When you do so, a representative located in Spain will go out to a retailer and buy a physical ticket on your behalf, which will be kept safe in case you win. This depends on beating the cut-off deadline on sales for a particular draw, so leave plenty of time when placing your order for tickets, or you may find you have to buy into the following draw instead.

Where the Money Goes

Most of La Primitiva's proceeds - 55% of ticket sales - go into the prize fund which, combined with the 1-in-10 chance of winning your money back, makes this a lottery with good odds and good prizes alike.

The remainder is divided between operating costs and retailer commissions as well as supporting good causes in Spain and internationally, such as the Spanish Red Cross and the Spanish Association Against Cancer.

FAQs

How do I choose my Complementary number?

The Complementary number is drawn from the remaining 43 balls in the first pot, after the six main draw balls have been selected. It acts as a 'bonus ball' if you have matched five main balls, but you don't need to choose a separate Complementary number, as you just need to match it to your sixth remaining number on your main ticket.

How do I choose my Reimbursement number?

The Reintegro number - meaning Refund or Reimbursement - is chosen from a separate pot numbered 0-9 and reimburses your entire original ticket price as well as boosting jackpot wins to the ‘Special’ jackpot. You can either choose your own Reintegro number or have it randomly assigned to your ticket.

I matched all seven numbers! How much have I won?

If you match all six main draw numbers and the Reintegro number, you've won the Special jackpot against odds of 1 in 139 million. If your numbers match the top 6 + R prize tier, they will have automatically matched the tier immediately below it as well. That means you will share the prize amount of the Match 6 tier with any other winners in addition to the prize you won by matching 6 + R (which would also be shared in the event of multiple winners). On top of that, you’ll get back the cost of the ticket too, in keeping with the Reintegro process.

Obviously, the exact winning prize amount you win will depend on the estimated jackpot amount at the time of the draw.

How long do I have to claim my prize?

Winning La Primitiva tickets are valid for three calendar months from the next day after the draw - unusually for most lotteries, this is counted 'from date to date' rather than a fixed 90 days.

Do I pay tax on my winnings?

Yes. Since 2013 Spain has charged a 20% tax on lottery winnings over €2,500, and this will be deducted from your prize before it is paid out to you.

If you are playing via lottery courier service from outside of Spain, you may also need to pay any local income tax on the remainder of your prize - this depends on your own local laws, and in some countries, such as the UK, lottery winnings are tax free.

How can I play the JOKER? Is it optional?

It is optional – it costs €1 to enter. To win the JOKER jackpot of €1,000,000, you’ll need to match all seven numbers that appear on your ticket. If playing with a physical ticket, simply cross the JOKER box when filling out your ticket.

You have to be playing the main La Primitiva game to take part in the JOKER supplementary game.

What is a daily draw and what is a weekly draw?

A daily draw refers to a single entry into either one Thursday draw or one Saturday draw, whereas a weekly draw refers to a single entry into both draws.

Got a question that isn’t specifically about the La Primitiva game? Check out general FAQs page to see if it’s answered there.