It was minutes after 7pm, Sunday December 15, 2012, when the winning number of the Gordo Navideño, the annual Christmas lottery winning numbers were announced.
Across the nation lottery players checked their numbers. It wasn’t until Monday did the Junta de Protección Social (JPS), the state lottery operator, confirm that there was no winner for the Grand Prize, in fact the winning number – number 70 with series 726 – was still in the JPS vault.
This unusual situation raised questions of a “rigged lottery”. The JPS was quick to respond that that was not the case.
Julio Canales Guillén, general manager of the JPS, in an interview with La Nacion, says that the prize money went to 347 state institutions and social organizations. Guillén added that the law allows the JPS to direct the funds to social programs across the country, that included the educational and nutrition centre, the Cen-Cinai and the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) for the purchase of medical equipment.
The JPS head explained that the lottery prize money also went to programs like improvement of old age homes, to build a new radiotherapy unit at the Hospital México, and the construction of a roof over the Asociación Misionera de la Iglesia Episcopal Costarricense recreation centre, among other programs.
Xinia Miranda, director of Acción Social at the JPS, explained that all the beneficiaries must submit a settlement of the payment by the JPS to the Contraloría General de la República (country’s Comptroller), in order to ensure that the money was invested in social programs. The funded projects are then audited.
As the hours approach to this year’s Gordo Navideño lottery, Miranda and Canales are keeping their fingers crossed that the winning Grand Prize will go in the hands of the lottery player.
The lottery is to be held tonight, Sunday, December 15, at 7pm.
Source: La Nacion