The Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) has launched a new web-based game that marks the first gambit in its emerging focus on digital products and outside business opportunities.

The first GeoSweep lottery draw in Atlantic Canada took place June 7.

"Awareness and interest levels are high, and participation is growing," said ALC spokeswoman Courtney Pringle Carver.

"We are very happy with the progress of the game to date."

Pringle Carver said GeoSweep represents 23 per cent of all transactions on ALC.ca, and has increased the average active player base by more than 20 per cent.

But the lottery giant declined to provide other numbers, such as how many people are actually playing the game. Nor will ALC say how much it has sunk into GeoSweep, or the parent company that owns the game, U.K.-based Roboreus.

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

As of a year ago, those investments were estimated to be in the neighbourhood of $4 million. Pringle Carver said more information will be available in the corporation’s annual report, due out later this week.

She declined to outline fiscal goals for the lottery corporation’s investment in GeoSweep and the company behind it.

"With respect to financials, it is our practice to only release audited figures," Pringle Carver said. "In addition, it is not our practice to release projections, as doing so would harm our business interests."

Atlantic Lottery Corp. is operated by the four provincial governments in the region, which receive 100 per cent of the profits.

But those profits have dipped in recent years, while expenses have been on the rise.

The corporation, with little public fanfare, has turned an eye toward digital and external opportunities to brighten that financial picture.

Among the possibilities recently considered by ALC were lottery opportunities from Illinois to Albania, and a move into online casino gambling.

The GeoSweep/Roboreus investment is the first and, to date, the only such foray to be finalized, according to ALC.

"With respect to upcoming investments, we are continuing to seek opportunities that will bring additional economic benefit to Atlantic Canada from areas outside our traditional lines of business," Pringle Carver noted.

"If and when the next right opportunity is found, we will announce it at that time."

Online lottery

GeoSweep is a lottery game not unlike other ALC offerings, albeit 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.

'We are very happy with the progress of the game to date.'—ALC spokeswoman Courtney Pringle Carver

There is one guaranteed daily prize of $1,000, which is selected from Geos that are actually owned. Neighbouring Geos are eligible to share another $500.

A big prize of $250,000 is also up for grabs every day. That draw, however, includes all Geos, whether they are occupied or not. No one has won the $250,000 to date.

GeoSweep was founded in the United Kingdom in 2008.

ALC’s investment includes a portion of profits generated by the game in other parts of the world, although the corporation won't get into specifics.

The game is currently available only in the U.K. and Atlantic Canada.