Geosweep loan costs P.E.I. $58K interest
Province holds investment in gaming company through Atlantic Lotto
Atlantic Lottery Corporation deducted $58,000 from its payment to P.E.I. in the 2011-12 fiscal year to cover interest costs on a loan used to invest in Geonomics Global Games.
The U.K.-based company is the creator of Geosweep, a lottery game that allows players to pick a spot on a map rather than a collection of numbers. Recently released government documents show the P.E.I. Lotteries Commission is responsible for interest on the $4.3 million investment made by Atlantic Lotto on P.E.I.'s behalf.
The interest was $58,000 for the year ending March 2012, and P.E.I. Auditor General Jane McAdam said it will probably be more for the year ending March 2013, because the 2012 costs did not represent a full year. No government figure is available.
Opposition finance critic James Aylward accuses government of withholding information about the deal.
"We were told by the Treasurer in the house not to worry, it was a great investment, he could have sold it last fall and made all kinds of money for the Island," said Aylward.
"In fact, now we find out that we're paying interest on an investment that we made, and we should be getting money back on the investment."
The documents say no income has been earned on the investment so far. There's no word on whether there are any losses.
The Opposition requested a special audit of the P.E.I. Lotteries Commission during the spring session of the legislature. McAdam said such an audit is under consideration.
P.E.I. and New Brunswick both hold a stake in Geonomics Global Games. Atlantic Lotto was offering the game but cancelled it in July.
Finance Minister Wes Sheridan could not be reached for comment.