Atlantic Lotto pulling the plug on GeoSweep game

The lottery corporation says the online game hasn't lived up to its potential in the Atlantic Canada market.

Corporation has sunk $8.7M into U.K. firm behind online lottery

Atlantic Lotto will no longer offer the GeoSweep game after July 4. (ALC)

The online lottery game GeoSweep is going offline.

"We've made the decision to remove the GeoSweep game from the market today," Patrick Daigle, chief financial officer with Atlantic Lotto, told CBC News.

"The game hasn’t lived up to its potential in this market."

Daigle said the lottery corporation will stop offering the game in Atlantic Canada as of July 4.

ALC has funnelled big bucks — a total of $8.7 million to date — into a stake in the U.K.-based firm behind GeoSweep.

The New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island governments opted into the investment, each contributing $4 million of that total. Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia opted out.

Daigle said that investment is secure. The British company — Geonomics, formerly known as Roboreus — is revising the game and will launch it in the U.K. later this summer.

"We do believe that the latest version of the game is going to hold player appeal," he said.

Daigle said European lottery broker Tipp24 — a "world-class investor" — recently acquired an interest in the company, which he said is a positive sign.

GeoSweep was launched more than a year ago with a splashy promotional campaign, including TV ads, billboards, and buses covered by the logo.

Daigle won't say how much that campaign cost.

"It’s not our practice to release internal business cases and projections," he said.

He also wouldn’t discuss just how bad GeoSweep’s sales were in Atlantic Canada.

"I’m not at liberty to disclose specific financial data," Daigle said.

Daily grand prize never won

Atlantic Lotto's GeoSweep game has never paid out its daily $250,000 grand prize in more than a year's worth of draws.

Atlantic Lottery operates in the four Atlantic Canadian provinces. ((Courtesy Atlantic Lottery))

That likely flags an indication of poor sales.

The game is a lottery, but with a digital — and geographical — twist.

Instead of picking numbers, players go online to pick a location on a map of Atlantic Canada. There are more than 2.3 million such locations, called Geos, up for grabs. The cost to own a Geo is $7.50 for 30 days, which works out to 25 cents daily.

While the game will no longer be offered in Atlantic Canada, ALC retains its stake in the British company behind GeoSweep.

"We haven’t made an investment in a game," Daigle said. "But rather, we’ve made an investment in a gaming company."