Fears over pub children ‘exposed to gambling’

DESPITE police concerns that children in a Galashiels bar will be “exposed to gambling”, the landlady will be allowed to keep two gaming machines on her premises.

Nicolina Fitzgerald of Niki’s Bar, a community pub in the Balmoral area, had asked Friday’s meeting of Scottish Borders Licensing Board for permission to amend her operating plan to include the machines.

It was explained that she had “ticked the wrong box” and the puggies had been omitted from her application for a premises licence under new licensing legislation.

The board heard that Niki’s was currently permitted to have children under 15 on the premises till 8pm and young people aged 16 and 17 until 10pm.

In a submission, the police said they had previously stated the bar was an “unsuitable environment” for minors because it was a single room with no designated area for children.

“Now, the applicant proposes to site gaming machines within the area accessible to children ... I ask the board to consider if this is appropriate taking into account the licensing objective of protecting children from harm,” said Inspector John Scott.

But the board accepted Mrs Fitzgerald’s assurance that the machines, which were clearly visible and able to be monitored by bar staff, could not be seen from the seating area used by children and granted her application.

Both Niki’s and the Union Club in Innerleithen were successful in bids to open at 11am on Sundays so that customers can enjoy televised sport.