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Atlantic Lottery may gamble on GeoSweep again

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation says it may take another chance on its failed GeoSweep game.

CEO Brent Scrimshaw says corporation watching relaunch of game in United Kingdom

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation says it may take another chance on its failed GeoSweep game.

The company shut down the game earlier this year after disappointing sales, but it still has millions of taxpayer dollars riding on its success.

The game involved players picking a location, or "geo," on a map of Atlantic Canada. If their location was picked, they'd win.

Atlantic Lottery Corporation stopped offering its GeoSweep game due to poor sales. (CBC)

But Atlantic Lottery chief executive officer Brent Scrimshaw told the New Brunswick legislature's Crown corporations committee Tuesday that the game never caught on.

"Not every version of every game we introduce will be successful," said Scrimshaw.

The lottery corporation is a creation of the provincial governments in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. It gambled on GeoSweep, buying a 10 per cent stake in Geonomics, the British developer of the game. New Brunswick provided $4 million of that investment, as did Prince Edward Island. The lottery corporation's stake is now worth 8.5 per cent.

Scrimshaw said Geonomics is now developing a new version of GeoSweep for the United Kingdom.

"We will be watching closely how it performs, and following a full and comprehensive review of that, at some point, may launch the new version in our market," Scrimshaw said.

GeoSweep was part of the lottery corporation's strategy to move into digital gambling and overseas markets, a strategy that Liberal committee member Roger Melanson appeared to endorse.

"It makes me think of Kodak," he said. "When Kodak never evolved, and never went digital, and what happened to them?"

Kodak went bankrupt.

Scrimshaw said Atlantic Lottery's sales have been flat for two years due to the rise of illegal online gambling. He said the corporation has to try new things to compete against unregulated online gambling.

"We need to be an innovator in the gaming sphere and to make ALC the go-to place for online gaming in this region," he said. "To that end, and as any business does, we have to take educated risks, and I underline educated."

        

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