Bingo has become the latest cheap night out for recession-hit men and women of all ages proving it is one of the most resilient industries in Ireland.
Thousands of people are flocking to bingo halls around the country every week in the search of cash prizes and company.
"While the recession may have had an effect in that the players may stake less, it is still becoming more and more popular," says Tom Doyle from bingo.ie.
When the Sunday Tribune visited the National Stadium on Dublin's South Circular Road on a recent Thursday night, almost 400 people had turned up for the chance to win €10,000 or more in prizes and cash.
According to manager Tony McMahon, who has overseen the bingo for 27 years, the game has become appealing to the under-40s set.
"A lot of younger people are coming here now – that is one of the main changes I have seen over the last while. We would see a lot of teenagers and young people giving it a go and saving some money rather than going to clubs and pubs."
Twenty-year-old Gemma O'Flaherty from Swords says she has recently started attending as an alternative to spending most nights in local pubs.
"Myself and my friends have only just started coming out here from Swords for bingo. We find the whole thing hilarious and it is a cheap night out and though we haven't won anything yet, we have a feeling it won't be long at all until we win a few grand and maybe get a holiday from it."
At the other end of the scale is Kathleen O'Connell, who has been attending the bingo for over 40 years. "I still come regularly, two nights a week", she says. "It is my only outlet. I don't drink and I don't smoke, so this is my way to unwind and to get to know people. One of the main changes I have seen is the fact that the price has gone up so much. It used to be seven shillings. Now you could spend over €50 buying books and raffle tickets. I won €2,000 last year though."
Around half in attendance use new digital bingo handheld computers which cost between €40 and €50 for the night.
Carol Fitzpatrick, Kathleen Hyland and Margaret Delaney have attended the hall together for the guts of a decade.
"We have been coming here for over eight years now, and for our group it is a night out and a way of seeing a few faces we recognise. I won the €3,000 jackpot a few weeks ago, and we always have hopes of winning something because at the end of the day, the money has to be won.
"There are some nights where there is a pot of €10,000 so it can be very worthwhile," says Delaney.
National Stadium Bingo was established in 1932, making it the oldest bingo game in the country.
Tom Doyle of Bingo.ie says there has been a countrywide surge in those chancing their arm at bingo.
"The Irish market for bingo is growing rapidly. People are hearing about it from their friends and the word is spreading across the country.
"The bingo industry is now worth up to €20m a year. While we are lagging behind the UK, as their bingo industry is worth up to €800m a year, we have come from having low business to millions of euro."