Meet the ‘King of Bingo’

Just about every bingo player has wondered at one time or another where the bingo cards actually come from. Believe it or not one gentleman has made a fortune printing bingo cards and is known as the ‘King of Bingo’ among players and bingo operators. Cards are an essential part of every bingo game and without cards there would be no game. Although the demand for cards is decreasing thanks to online bingo cards, daubers and callers remain an essential part of any live bingo games.

Frank Cronin, the ‘king of bingo’ was born during the worst years of the great depression in 1933. In the early 1950’s Frank was working at a small family owned print shop learning the trade. One day a priest came to the shop and wanted to order bingo cards. The order changed Frank’s life forever when he realized that there may be a demand for bingo cards. Frank entered the bingo business at the right time. The popularity of bingo was rapidly increasing during the post war years and Frank was quick to spot the business opportunity.

Franks company began the production of bingo cards and soon Frank had several clients. The firm started to print more bingo cards and soon the company was struggling to keep up with the demand. The firm Frank worked for, Edward Thompson quickly became the world’s largest supplier of bingo cards. Frank enjoyed his work and told a biographer “There’s been great fun in my life. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve never been bored in my life.”

Frank’s life, from a schoolboy math whiz to a global business success is the subject of a biography I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve never been bored in my life.” Nigel said of his subject “Bingo is a game which has brought pleasure to countless millions, and Frank is one of the men who made this possible.” Frank’s company got involved in the bingo business at the right time. In 1959 the firm had 12 employees and by 1960 they employed 300 people. In the beginning the company was outsourcing the printing of a few thousand bingo cards every week. By 1966 the company was printing 50 million bingo cards every week!

The firm expanded and added mill to meet the soaring demand for bingo cards. Frank started a new company called Wearside Electronics. Bingo blowers and other electronic bingo equipment was manufactured by the new firm During those busy years Frank found time for love and married Teresa Martin in 1957 and is the father of four boys. At 77 Frank still takes interest in the firm which is now managed by one of his sons. Despite a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Frank continues to work and says “I am not worried. It’s part of ageing, of getting old.”

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