Loto: the rent of the broken Gueules


With privatization, veterans are afraid of being ousted from the capital of the FDJ, created to help them.

Like many French, you checked your little lotto grid of Friday the 13th, and like everyone else, you totally missed out on the mega kitty of 13 million euros? Do not feel guilty about this money spent in waste: you have, unknowingly, done a good job, working for the well-being of our glorious veterans. We know little, but behind the state that holds 72% of the French games (FDJ), the Union of the wounded of the face and the head, more commonly called the association of broken mouths , is the second largest shareholder, with 9.2% of the capital. It is also customary to say that they are the only real winners of the Lotto. The FDJ is indeed a flourishing business that has seen its profits almost doubled over the last decade. A company that, under the impetus of the State, is particularly generous with its shareholders. The broken Gueules thus receive not less than ten million euros a year in dividends. Problem: while looming the privatization of the operator of Lotto, Millionaire, Astro and other Bingo , the small shareholders -28% by adding the 5% held by the employees- worry about whether they will not be at the same time pushed to the exit, despite the reassuring words of the Minister of Economy, Bruno the Mayor. “Let’s hope we are not being lied to,” whispered Olivier Roussel, grandson of hairy, and Director of the Association of Gueules Cassées. A raffle to help hairy people in need A way of reminding that this would not be the first time that the state takes some liberties with the good of others. “It was the veterans associations that in the late 1920s had the idea of ​​launching a big national raffle, with lots going from the bicycle to the small plane of tourism, to help the poorest hairy”, says Olivier Roussel. The debt – the name of this lottery to remind the debt of the French vis-à-vis the heroes of the great war – is quickly a great success. To the point of arousing the interest of the government of the time who decides, in 1933, to take the concept to his account. Veterans’ associations are still the linchpin, since the tickets are sold by war veterans installed in kiosks. For thirty years, the lottery generously fuels the state coffers and veterans associations. More than 500,000 soldiers were wounded in the head during the 14-18 war afp.com Loto, a creation of German veterans But the arrival of the tiercé will divert a large number of players. The solution will come again associations. “We then copied the German lotto, with the consent of the veterans of the Rhine who invented it to rescue their needy,” says Henri Denys of Bonnaventure, the president of Gueules Cassées, elegant septuagenarian with a barred face. an impressive scar, a reminder of the Algerian war. “Our president at the time even had to mortgage his factory to finance the creation, because the state did not want to put a dime,” said Admiral Henri Lacaille, 82, good cheer, President of the National Federation André Maginot, which holds 4% of the FDJ. The small difference that will sign a phenomenal success? Unlike the lottery, you can choose your own numbers, allowing to play the birthday of the little, the wedding … May 1, 1976, takes place the first draw in the history of lotto. The newsletters processing center is then installed in Moussy le Vieux, in Seine et Marne, a historic house of broken mouths which was initially conceived as a sort of phalanstery allowing the old mutilated villagers to live in a semi-secure shelter. looks. “It worked so hard, that two years later the state decided to create a mixed economy company by taking 51% of the capital,” says Olivier Roussel. In 1988, rebelote, the State rises this time to 72%. We can understand that our small shareholders are not very calm today. The association has expanded its field of action One could, a little hastily, say that a complete recovery of the participation of the Gueules Cassées and the Federation Maginot would be logical. After all, social security was invented in 1946 and the last of the hairy French, Lazare Ponticelli , died in 2008 at the age of 110. The kind of reasoning that has the gift of annoying the director of the Broken Gueules. “We must stop with these nonsense: we created the lotto, and the association has always behaved as entrepreneurs, it is not subsidies!”. Above all, the association has long since expanded its range. “The wounded of the head, there are unfortunately on all the wars, thus we count 200 to 300 mutilated of the face each year in the external operations carried out by the French army”, continues Olivier Roussel. Since 2009, the association has also opened its ranks to gendarmes, firefighters and victims of terrorism. Including war widows, the Broken Maws now have 5,000 members (7,000 in 1930). More and younger members thanks to this recent opening. Many and diversified donations And the brotherhood does not work in the direction of its only members. “Of the 10 million euros in annual dividends, we pay about 1.5 million to the Broken Wings, an essential association, because the airmen have unfortunately paid a heavy price during the various wars,” said Olivier Roussel. Two million more go to social aid for veterans in precariousness, one million euros fills the coffers of smaller war associations, and two million euros come to supply each year the Foundation Gueules Cassées which works to medical research of facial trauma. A few hundred thousand euros are used to perpetuate the memory of veterans, including through competitions in schools, and the maintenance of museums large and small throughout the territory. The rest of the budget is used to run the Ephad of Valletta Var, located between Toulon and Hyères, which hosts 113 elders, and its adjoining convalescence center. A site that employs 100 people per year, to which must be added the 13 employees of the headquarters, and about twenty social workers in the region. In the end, and contrary to what one might think at first glance, the association does not roll on gold. It must also be said that it has not always been managed with the cord, as pointed out a report of the Court of Auditors published in 2000 describing an unorthodox organization, even limit, with employees contracting loans at unbeatable rates … with the association. A large household would have been made since, but bad investments have made him lose 11 million euros in 2008! The best soldiers do not necessarily make the best managers …


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