Hundreds of cars from across Ireland will converge in a single field in Co Meath today for the latest gambling craze sweeping the country: drive-in bingo.

The idea was first pioneered after the introduction of the smoking ban left bingo-hall smokers sitting through hours of abstinence, and has turned out to be a nationwide hit.

"It is proving to be extremely popular, it is good value and the prizes can be a few thousand sometimes," said Séamus Davis, organiser of today's event in Cannistown. "All you have to do is drive in, turn off your engine and buy a bingo book. If you get a line, simply beep your horn and we'll come and literally hand the cash in through the window.

"It's also a great laugh and there's been a lot of positive reaction. You can relax in your own car with friends or family, have a smoke if you want, and enjoy the game and not worry about parking."

The numbers are called out by microphone from a podium in a truck at the front of the field, and stewards wait at the end of each row of cars to hand out the prize money to winners.

According to Davis, those attending the next drive-in bingo are expected to come from all over the country, and he is hoping for approximately 350 attendees.

"It is really catching on, and word of mouth is helping out with this. We are just off the old Dublin road and are completely accessible by motorways. So we expect people from Dublin and from further afield too, perhaps from Cavan and areas like that. It is a day out and you could spend up to three hours playing."

The event is the first to be run by Davis, but others have been held on bank holiday weekends in nearby Gibbstown. They are run by a separate group but have now finished for the year.

Other areas which previously held drive-in bingo include Balbriggan in Dublin and Balmitty in Co Wexford.

Davis hopes that the event will boost tourism in the area. The industry is now worth €20m a year, still a snip compared to the UK industry, which has been valued at €800m a year.