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Rails Bookmaker closes down

Rails Bookmaker Ltd, in Kirkwall’s Bridge Street, closed down on Monday night — with escalating licensing fees being blamed in part.

Owner Lloyd Stockan said this week that he was disappointed that it had come to this, with one full-time and two part-time staff being made redundant.

Mr Stockan opened the bookmakers 24 years ago, alongside Jim Kelly, but has owned it solely for the past 20 years.

He said there were a number of reasons for the closure, but primarily the change in licensing legislation, two years ago, had seen fees rise from £65 to £2,050 annually. “That was a major blow.”

But there were other factors, he continued, including the need for significant investment in new equipment for the business.

“The equipment was starting to fail and it was time to make a decision whether to renew the lot or close. The size of the shop — it’s small and narrow — would not be suitable for the size of the new equipment.”

Mr Stockan said he plans to retain the premises for rental purposes.