Go to main content

HISTORY

FDJ at the heart of France

FDJ has been creating winners across France for 90 years

The National Lottery, the precursor to FDJ, was created in 1933 to aid the “Gueules Cassées”, soldiers wounded in World War One. This lottery, born out of mutual aid, laid the foundations of what we are today: a company that chooses to contribute to society through its actions.

1933-1976

From a war veteran’s lottery to the modern-day LOTO – the origins of La Française des Jeux

  • 1933 : the birth of the National Lottery and the first winner

    In 1933, the French government created the National Lottery, inspired by the system set up after World War One by the charity “Gueules Cassées” to aid wounded soldiers. The first winner was Paul Bonhoure, a hairdresser from Tarascon (Bouches-du-Rhône), who won 5 million francs in the draw on November 7, 1933. The profits from the National Lottery were donated to war veterans and victims of agricultural disasters. 

  • 1958 : a quarter of a century later!

    In 1958, the National Lottery celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special draw with a jackpot of 150 million francs. In the 1960s, the lottery experienced a revival with the introduction of weekly draws and “special draws” on Friday 13th, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, and Christmas. Nearly half of all adults played the National Lottery, which expanded into a network across the country. 

  • 1976 : the first LOTO draw

    The LOTO appeared in the mid-1970s, distinguishing itself from the lottery by allowing players to choose their numbers. The very first draw took place on May 19, 1976, in Paris, at the Théâtre de l’Empire. This new game quickly became a social phenomenon: by the first anniversary in May 1977, we reached the milestone of 7 million weekly entries! In response to this success, the government created the National Lottery and National Loto Company (SLNLN) in 1979. True to its origins, the business model is based on redistributing takings for the common good. 

1980s and 1990s

A diversified gaming offering and shaping our commitments

  • 1981 : the digital turning point

    In the early days of LOTO, entries were processed manually and verified individually. The search for a winner could take up to 24 hours! In 1981, FDJ went digital and opted for a computer solution capable of processing up to 500 transactions per second. The site in Vitrolles near Marseille became the technological heart of La Française des Jeux. Today, information technology is FDJ’s primary business. 

  • 1983 : Tac O Tac, the first scratch game

    Seven years after LOTO, La Française des Jeux (then still called SLNLN) innovates again by combining scratch and draw games… The “Tac O Tac” is born! Launched in December 1983, it was a great success and earned its place in the collective memory with its iconic slogan. 

  • 1985 : The beginning of sports betting

    SLNLN launched the first sports betting game in France in 1985. These were the beginnings of the multi-sport Loto, which became “Loto Foot” in 1997. The game opened up to foreign leagues in 1999, and the formula evolved over the years: from Loto Foot Match to Loto Foot Score, becoming “Loto foot 7” in 2004 and finally the “Loto foot 15” we still know today.

  • 1991 : The launch of Millionaire and a change of name

    In 1991, France Loto became La Française des Jeux. In the same year, the French discoveredMillionaire“, a scratch game associated with a television show. Contestants were invited to spin the iconic big wheel to win up to 1 million francs – later 1 million euros from 2002. Millionaire still exists today as a scratch card.

  • 1993 : Creation of the FDJ Corporate Foundation

    La Française des Jeux created its Corporate Foundation in 1993 – one of the first in France at that time. Its mission: to work in the field of sports sponsorship, in line with the initial mission for mutual aid and the common good that FDJ inherited from the National Lottery. The FDJ Foundation is committed to supporting sport in all its forms.

  • 1997 : FDJ founding partner of the Groupama-FDJ men's cycling team

    In 1997, Marc Madiot and La Française des Jeux joined forces to create a cycling team that has been named Groupama-FDJ since 2018. Since its inception, the team has won more than 500 victories and has been the home of cycling icons such as Thibaut Pinot, Arnaud Démare, Frédéric Guesdon, Philippe Gilbert, Bradley McGee, Baden Cooke, and Sandy Cesar. A breeding ground for young talents, the Continental Groupama-FDJ was born in 2019.

2000s and 2010s

The innovation turning point

  • 2000 : Creation of our online presence – fdjeux.com

    In 2000, La Française des Jeux ventured onto the web with the fdjeux.com site. Audiences discovered exclusive online games, which were bolstered in 2003 by an offering including LOTO and scratch games. In 2010, fdjeux.com became fdj.fr.

  • 2004 : Launch of Euromillions

    The first Euromillions draw took place on Friday, February 13, 2004. The move to a pan-European scale allowed us to create even more winners: the current record, held by a French player, is €220 million! Originally made up of three countries – Spain, France, and the United Kingdom — the Euromillions community quickly expanded with the arrival of Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Switzerland. Today, Euromillions is available in nine countries.

  • 2010 : Opening to competition for sports betting

    2010 saw the online sports betting and poker sector open up to competition and receive more regulation. This affected sports, horse racing, and poker betting. After the launch of “Cote & Match”, the first fixed-odds betting game, in 2003, innovations in sports betting saw the arrival of ParionsSport and the ParionsWeb website.

  • 2017 : FDJ sponsors the FDJ-SUEZ women's cycling team

    In 2017, FDJ became a partner of the FDJ-Nouvelle-Aquitaine-Futuroscope women’s cycling team, which became FDJ-SUEZ in 2022. In 2020, the team joined the Women’s World Tour circuit, thanks to strengthened support from FDJ, allowing the entire team to become salaried employees. Ranked in the top four globally, the team includes notable cyclists such as Marta Cavalli, Cecilie Uttrup-Ludwig, French riders Marie Le Net, Evita Muzic, and Jade Viel, who have all been French champions.

  • 2018 : Launch of the "Heritage Mission" games

    In 2018, FDJ launched a range of games dedicated to the Heritage Mission for the preservation of endangered heritage sites, rolled out by the Heritage Foundation, and supported by the Ministry of Culture. Since 2018, we have raised over €125 million to support heritage projects. This money would usually have gone to the French government, but with this initiative, they have decided to donate it to the Heritage Foundation.

Since 2019

A responsible and useful company for all, true to its origins

  • 2019 : Privatization of La Française des Jeux

    It’s a historic turning point! On November 21, 2019, FDJ was listed on the regulated market of Euronext in Paris. The operation was a great success and allowed people to buy nearly 20% of company stock. FDJ now has more than 400,000 individual shareholders. 

  • 2020 : FDJ adopts a "raison d’être"

    The decision to adopt a raison d’être seemed natural to FDJ, given its societal and mutual aid commitments since its creation in 1933. Our purpose was approved at the general meeting in June 2020 and is now enshrined in our statutes. It is structured around five pillars: game offering, responsible model, societal commitment, territorial anchoring, and sustainability.

  • 2021 : A rebranded platform to reveal the French brand promise « win-win »

    To better promote its raison d’être and its role in society, FDJ evolved its brand platform in 2021 with the “win-win” positioning and launched the “Watch France Win” campaign. FDJ takes action every day so you can watch France win through its unique social model, combining responsible gaming, support for local commerce, funding for amateur and professional sports, and a Corporate Foundation that promotes equal opportunities and heritage site restoration… The Group not only makes the hopes, dreams, and ambitions of French citizens come true, but it also contributes to local life and maintaining social connections. 

  • 2024 : FDJ, official partner of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

    By becoming an official partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games of Paris 2024, the FDJ Group continues its historic commitment to French sport and the promotion of its values.

100 % of winners...

FDJ is also all about its iconic slogans and adverts!

FDJ is a decidedly popular and optimistic brand. These values are embodied by some of our iconic slogans, which are anchored in the collective memory and have sometimes even slipped into everyday parlance! The love story between FDJ and the French public has also been built around memorable advertising campaigns over the years.