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," Dyke said.
Dyke said ALC is investing in the company hoping for a share of the North American profits.
'It really is one of those lotteries that appeals to what we would call the Facebook generation.' — Paula Dyke, ALC
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.
The current U.K. version of GeoSweep has divided up a map of Britain and it allows U.K. gamblers to put their money on a particular plot of land, such as their house or a portion of Buckingham Palace.
There are two random draws held daily and a person wins one million pounds (or about C$1.5 million).
However, the gambling contract is a direct play for younger players, who may be gambling their money elsewhere.
The GeoSweep game encourages people to use Google Earth and social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.
"It really is one of those lotteries that appeals to what we would call the Facebook generation," Dyke said.
Invest in literacy: NDP
New Democratic Party Leader Dominic Cardy said there are better ways to spend government money than on gambling companies.
"This is our government's idea of economic development and investment is to pump money into gambling operations," Cardy said.
"I think we should be looking elsewhere for places to put our public money."
For instance, Cardy said the provincial government would be better off investing in literacy in order to create a stronger economy.