GeoSweep online lotto game latest relaunch sputters in U.K.
Just a handful of 59.2 million squares for sale on GeoLotto's game board sold
The Atlantic Lottery Corporation's hope for a British-led revival of its doomed online game GeoSweep appears to be sputtering.
GeoLotto U.K., an overhaul of the short-lived game ALC lost millions on before cancelling it last year, has announced its latest relaunch is being scrapped, like two earlier versions.
"We're making big changes to the way we run our draw game," GeoLotto announced on its British website this month.
"From the 1st of March we'll be switching from a daily draw game to once a week."
The change from seven draws a week to one follows months of weak sales in Britain, even though four months ago ALC President Brent Scrimshaw said it was important for the game to do well.
"Certainly, given the size of that market it’s important and we'll be watching with interest," Scrimshaw told CBC News in October.
"At the end of the day we are confident the game will go beyond the UK."
GeoLotto and GeoSweep before it are the flagship creations of the London-based lottery company Geonomics.
The games utilize giant grids placed over a Google map, which allow players to buy plots of land that are then entered in a draw for cash prizes.
ALC was convinced the game would appeal to a "Facebook generation" of younger players who tend not to buy traditional lottery tickets.
It convinced the P.E.I. and New Brunswick governments to let it invest $8 million in the company and then spent another $2 million in promotions in a failed attempt to get Atlantic Canadians to play the game.
That sent Geonomics back to the drawing board where it redesigned the game, increasing jackpots and raising the price to play.
It was the third version of the game tried in Britain, but Scrimshaw liked what he saw and said if it caught on, it could make a return to Atlantic Canada.
"Good looking game," said Scrimshaw. "They've done a nice job on it. This version."
But the British public has been less impressed.
On Friday, only a handful of the 59.2 million squares for sale on GeoLotto's game board appeared to have been sold.
Even locations listed as "hot spots" of play were mostly barren. For example, none of the 750 squares for sale around Buckingham Palace or the 2,000 squares around Wembley Stadium had been sold even though both are featured on GeoLotto's homepage as popular locations.
There is also little chatter about the game. Its Twitter account @GeoLottoUK has only 53 followers.
ALC had no comment Friday on GeoLotto's problems, but said it would look into the issue and respond on Monday.
Hannah Stacey, a spokesperson for Geonomics, also promised to respond next week.