Atlantic Lottery Corporation will unveil a new online game called GeoSweep by year end, and officials are confident that a $2-million investment into a British company that developed the game will pay dividends for Atlantic Canada. “As GeoSweep grows, Atlantic Canada will profit,” said ALC spokeswoman Sarah McBeath.
Last month, the provincial government gave the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation permission to participate in an investment by the Atlantic Lottery Corporation in Roboreus Limited, a UK-based gaming company, with the New Brunswick Lotteries and Gaming Corporation’s share of the initial investment being up to $2 million.
McBeath said the investment is in the Roboreus company itself and also to acquire the rights to use the game in this country. The Moncton-based Atlantic Lottery Corporation’s core business has been in conventional games such as lottery tickets and video lottery terminals in Atlantic Canada.
The corporation has offered online games since 2004, which allow Atlantic Canadian residents aged 19 or older to register online and play the lotteries available at retail locations as well as online games like iBingo. But ALC wants to expand into online games that are based here, to compete with online games based outside of Canada.
The GeoSweep game, now available in the UK, is rather like placing your bet on a roulette table and hoping your number comes up. But instead of numbers on the table, you are playing with squares on a Google Map. According to the British GeoSweep website, the game is fun and easy to play online.
To play the game, you can go online and choose a grid square based on Google Maps. The squares on the map are called Geos. If a square is red, someone else has already claimed it. If it is green, it is available. The idea is to choose a spot on the map that has significance to you, like your house. Once you find your square, you can click on it and add it to your “shopping basket.” You then register online to reserve your Geos.
When you pay for your Geos, they turn blue on your screen. In Britain, each Geo costs one pound ($1.55 CDN) for 100 days of draws. You can pay by subscription or pay as you go. When you buy a subscription, your account is automatically debited and your Geos remain reserved, so you are automatically entered in the draws. If you give up your Geos, they become free for someone else to claim. If the spot you want is occupied, you can put your name on the waiting list.
There are two draws every day for 100,000 pounds. Once you have claimed your Geos, you can claim them as your own and check online to see if your Geo is one of the winners. The GeoSweep game sweeps the map and chooses a square at random as a winner. If the chosen Geo of the day is unoccupied, there is no winner.
There’s a bit of education involved as well, as GeoSweep talks about the significance of the plots of land in announcing the winners. For example, yesterday’s winner was Philbus with a Geo placed in Old Stratford, near the road built by the Romans to cross the river.
According to the post, “Old Stratford soon became a stop-off point for the Romans to get supplies of food and especially drinks, and they would often stop by the local wayside taverns to drink blood red wine from earthenware beakers. Nowadays, Philbus can go to his local pub, the Swan and celebrate his winnings with an anaemic but delicious local real ale.” Atlantic Lottery officials said last month it had carefully assessed the project and are convinced it is a good investment.
The New Brunswick government and Atlantic Lottery Corp. are gambling on a $2-million investment in a U.K. company that will attract a younger generation of players.
The provincial government has approved a $2-million investment into GeoSweep, a company that operates a game where gamblers bet on Google Earth locations.
Paula Dyke, the director of public affairs at the Atlantic Lottery Corp. (ALC), said GeoSweep is a popular lottery game in the United Kingdom and the Crown corporation would like to see it become a hit in North America.
“For us, it’s about getting in on the ground floor and looking at how that can benefit our own region, and ‘It really is one of those lotteries that appeals to what we would call the Facebook generation” Dyke said. Dyke said ALC is investing in the company hoping for a share of the North American profits.
The ALC official would not say whether New Brunswick is the only partner at ALC to invest in this company. The governments of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are all partners in ALC.