P.E.I., Lotto Corp. still supporting geo lottery, despite poor U.K sales

Teresa Wright
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A British reincarnation of the failed GeoSweep game appears to be struggling, but both the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan remain confident their investment in the game’s future remains sound.

A British reincarnation of the failed GeoSweep game appears to be struggling, but both the Atlantic Lottery Corporation and P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan remain confident their investment in the game’s future remains sound.

GeoSweep was re-launched in the U.K. recently as GeoLotto – the third time the geo-based lottery game has been attempted.

Recently, GeoLotto announced on its website it plans to move from a daily lottery draw to a weekly draw in March.

This move follows reports the game has not been doing well.

On Friday, it did not appear many of the over 59 million squares, or geos, available on the lottery map had been purchased.

Sheridan said Friday the game is not selling well yet because it is only a beta version of the game and has not been promoted yet.

“They’re just trying out the new platform, they haven’t it yet, there’s no marketing associated with it yet,” Sheridan said.

“We’re just waiting for that re-launch and, of course, hoping that all of the new marketing that they put in place with the new investors from Germany will pay dividends.”

Atlantic Lottery lost millions on its version of the game before scrapping it last summer. But it still believes online geo lottery has a future.

ALC currently has an $8.7 million investment in the game’s parent company Geonomics Global Games Ltd.

Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick are backing this investment. This means, if the game does well, P.E.I. and N.B. will benefit from any profits. But it also means these provinces will be responsible for potential losses.

P.E.I.'s share in the game is $4.3 million, but it is also responsible for yearly interest payments on this investment.

A German company called Tipp 24 has also purchased £10 million pounds worth of shares in Geonomics and will be a key player in the fully marketed re-launch of GeoLotto in the coming months.

Sheridan says despite the poor sales so far in the current soft launch of the game, he is confident it will eventually be profitable.

“We’re hoping that this new reinvigoration of the game and the platform will be the solution to this game,” Sheridan said.

“ALC has a great track record and we’re hoping that his is another one of the good ones.”

In October, ALC president and CEO Brent Scrimshaw appeared before P.E.I.’s public accounts committee to answer to concerns being raised about the province’s investment in the failed GeoSweep game.

Scrimshaw firmly defended the investment and noted ALC must offer more online games, as revenues for traditional gaming offerings are dropping.

But Opposition MLA James Aylward says his concerns have been far from allayed, especially in light of the poor sales of the latest British version.

“We simply have a game that is not catching on,” Aylward said.

“It did not catch on with Atlantic Canadians, it has not caught on with the players in the U.K. What are they going to try next?”

He said he does not believe the province should be investing in online gaming, especially in a time of fiscal restraint.

“If you’re counting on your revenues to run a province on the backs of people who are gambling, I’m pretty concerned about where our government is going and where our province is going.”

ALC voiced no concern over the changes being made to GeoLotto in the U.K.

“The team at Geonomics has been making adjustments based on live player feedback and ongoing market research; this is standard practice in game development,” said ALC spokesperson Courtney Pringle-Carver in an email statement to The Guardian this week.

“Once the game is fully optimized, out of beta form, and supported by a marketing effort, we’ll be watching how it performs. There is no change to the status of our investment.”

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: Atlantic Lottery Corporation, Lotto, Geonomics Global Games

Geographic location: U.K., Germany, Prince Edward Island New Brunswick

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Recent comments

  • alcagallant
    May 10, 2014 - 22:59

    save for research

  • Jerry Laird
    February 19, 2014 - 06:17

    The part that gets me, beyond the fact it's a bad idea to invest in a lottery and also a bad idea to invest in a failing business( did I read this right) we are responsible for an annual interest payment on money the government has lent to this GeoSweep company, am I missing something.

  • SlyFox
    February 15, 2014 - 08:55

    The gaming market only has so many addicts and the market is saturated now with ways of addicts to lose their money.Even a drug dealer know if a product is not selling ,they will not keep trying to sell it if they are losing money.Oh but not Wes,he just keeps throwing taxpayers money down the bottomless pit.

  • Squirrel
    February 15, 2014 - 08:51

    Its totally unforgivable for OUR Gov't to be using OUR Tax dollars in any investment except a GIC. Just amazing, what if we lose any part of that 4.3 M. Wes, you are out of control !!!

  • My Blood Is Boiling
    February 15, 2014 - 08:38

    Just where did it say on the ballot that the PEI finance minister was allowed to gamble with my tax dollar . This is a disgrace and he should be fired or resign . We have people striving to feed their family & heat their homes and still these fools run around the world on our dollar . Sickening . When are we the people going to put a end to this robbery and make our ML'a do the job that we hired them for . Playing the lotto is not a part of goverments mandate to my knowledge .

  • Big Bux
    February 15, 2014 - 08:35

    Seriously!?!? This is the guy holding our wallet, I guess it all comes down to wise choices doesn't it? See YOU on Election Day buddy, then, never again!

  • Unbelievable
    February 15, 2014 - 06:51

    Wes is the kind of guy who, when money gets tight, would take the family pay cheque and play poker with it in hopes of a big win. So irresponsible! It makes my blood boil.

    • north shore
      February 15, 2014 - 14:37

      He'll get the big win alright..A job with Atlantic Lotto