$4M invested by P.E.I. in new gambling product
The P.E.I. government is investing $4 million into a British internet gaming company called Roboreus, and the Opposition is concerned about the poor performance of the product in a pilot project.
The company is behind Atlantic Lottery's new online game called GeoSweep. Instead of picking numbers players pick a favourite location on a map of Atlantic Canada. There are more than 2.3 million such locations, called Geos, up for grabs across Atlantic Canada. The cost to own a Geo is $7.50 for 30 days.
During a pilot project GeoSweep failed to take off in the U.K. In March daily income from the game there was only about $160.
P.E.I. Finance Minister Wes Sheridan said income from older-type lotteries is dropping and this new investment should help.
"You have to take a look at a concept where you think it may be something that would turn a very good investment dollar over," said Sheridan.
"If we sit idly by and let our revenue sources go down continually we'd be in no position to continue to have government grow."
P.E.I. and New Brunswick have each invested $4 million for a stake in Roboreus. So far Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador have declined.
Opposition finance critic Steven Myers said given the U.K. pilot failure, Sheridan should have followed the lead of those two provinces.
"We're throwing out $4 million at a time when we can't fund the $4 million that they need to build the high school in Souris and we can't get the $1.2 million to build an expansion on the Montague Intermediate school," said Myers.
"It seems like a bad time to be gambling our money."
Sheridan expects P.E.I. to recoup its investment in three years.
For mobile device users: Is P.E.I.'s investment in the Geosweep lottery a good one?