But the story doesn’t end there, because the day after White claimed the prize, another Powerball jackpot was won in Rhode Island. This time, the winning ticket of $60 million was sold at the convenience store, Quickets, in Smithfield. It’s not the first time a state has won back-to-back Powerball jackpots – Indiana managed the trick three times in a row once – but the odds of that happening are way up there in yellow/calico lobster territory.
The cyber-ink on last week’s blog post (“The Ballad of the Anonymous Powerball Winner”) had barely dried when the announcement came that White was the winner. The Newport Daily News (which owns Independent Newspapers) broke the story. Reporter Sean Flynn’s entertaining first look at the winner noted that White, who lives with her son, Leroy White (a longtime and popular musician and performer in Newport) and daughter-in-law Deborah White, a surgical nurse at Newport Hospital, established the Rainbow Sherbet Trust to administer the winnings. In Flynn’s words:
The trust bears the name of the frozen treat that drew a family member, accompanied by White, to Stop & Shop the evening she purchased her winning lottery ticket.
How cool is that?
So Rhode Island, suddenly lucky in lobster and lottery, likely will ratchet up its obsession with shellfish and numbered Ping-Pong balls in the coming days. For a state with at least one village created entirely by lottery (Avondale, formerly known as Lotteryville, in Westerly), whose residents routinely give each other scratch tickets as stocking stuffers, this can only mean that the gaming madness is going to intensify. The state needs money, so this is the perfect time to introduce a plethora of instant games into the market.
Where’s Roger? (Scratch the tree root. If you discover the head of Roger Williams, you are an instant winner.)
Yellow Lobster (Scratch the lobster. If you discover a calico lobster underneath the yellow one, you are an instant winner.)
Roomful of Blues Mystery Tour (Scratch the band. If you discover a Rhode Island musician who hasn’t played in it yet, you are an instant winner.)
Beyond that, Rhode Island has joined the other five New England states to create a new regional lottery game – Lucky for Life – that will pay winners $1,000 a day for the rest of their lives. The game also will be an interesting lesson in kinship. Every New England state revels in its own cranky independence. (Rhode Island even has an Independent Man that stands atop its State House, enduring heaps of pigeon guano every day.) Outside of Yankee magazine and sports fan tribalism, there isn’t much we celebrate together.
Years ago, the short-lived New England magazine, a high-quality monthly that tried to do for the region what weekly New Yorker and monthly New York magazine do for the Empire State, couldn’t find enough advertisers to sustain its publication. Knowing that Yankee had already targeted the “lighthouses and covered bridges” demographic, as one New England magazine editor snidely put it to me, the publication tried to provide a niche between Yankee’s culture-and-travel kitsch, Boston magazine’s personality-driven content and The Atlantic’s high-brow focus on ideas. It didn’t work (possibly because The New Yorker and The New York Times seem to spend as much time in New England as their own state).
But this lottery thing. This could have legs.
This week’s question: What should be the next scratch ticket game in Rhode Island?