New Brunswick

Atlantic Lotto cuts 16 positions

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation has eliminated 16 positions in its sales and maketing division and redeployed 14 other employees within the organization, officials confirmed on Monday.

Redeploys another 14 employees

The Atlantic Lottery Corporation has eliminated 16 positions in its sales and marketing division, officials confirmed on Monday.

An additional 14 employees have been redeployed to positions within the organization that "support the needs of the business," spokeswoman Lindsay Shannon said in an emailed statement.

She said the job cuts are related to changes in the business structure and described the decision as "difficult."

"With an eye to the future, we are addressing the ever-changing marketplace and challenges so that we can continue to return sustainable profits to the region to support healthcare, education and infrastructure in our communities," said Shannon.

"This means we have to change what we do and how we do it," she said.

"We believe it is part of our responsibility to taxpayers to be as efficient and as low cost as possible."

 It's unclear where the affected employees are located. Shannon declined to divulge any details, citing privacy reasons.

She did say that a great deal of time was spent trying to minimize the impact on employees and ensuring the process was fair.

The affected employees will be provided with tools to help them transition to their next career, Shannon added.

On heels of GeoSweep controversy

During the last fiscal year the Atlantic Lottery Corporation funnelled $8.7 million into an equity stake in a British internet gaming company — Roboreus, creator of the controversial GeoSweep game.

GeoSweep failed to take off in the U.K. In March, income from the game in the entire country was just 100 pounds a day, or roughly $160.

ALC refuses to release sales figures for GeoSweep.

The $8.7-million infusion, outlined in a note to its 2011-12 audited financial statements, is significantly higher than previously-released figures.

In response to a freedom-of-information request a year ago, ALC said its total capital investment in GeoSweep/Roboreus was $3.85 million, as of June 30, 2011.

New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island governments each contributed $4 million, while Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador opted out.

New Brunswick Finance Minister Blaine Higgs has said the provincial government is "re-evaluating" its investment and is unsure if it wants to bet on the game any further.

GeoSweep is a lottery game similar to other ALC offerings, but 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 at a cost of $7.50 for 30 days.

The jackpot is $250,000, but of the 152 draws since the game was launched across Atlantic Canada in June, there has never been a jackpot winner.