Betfair have closed down a number of rival sportsbook operator's Exchange 'hedging' accounts in a bid to compel them to sign up for licenses to access their live data stream. The news reported on Calvin Ayre reads:

Exchange betting outfit Betfair has closed rival sportsbook operators ‘hedging’ accounts in what eGamingReview reports is a bid to compel competitors to sign up for licenses to access Betfair’s live data stream. Betfair’s API and data boss Tom Johnson told eGR the company “closely monitor” competitors’ use of Betfair’s live exchange prices, which he described as “very valuable intellectual property.” Johnson said that if Betfair detected high data usage by accounts that it determined were “operated by a betting operator or have an association with a betting operator” which hadn’t yet signed up for a data license, “we are likely to close these accounts.” Johnson admitted that Betfair has occasionally chosen to block a company’s IP address rather than close individual accounts.

Johnson said Betfair has convinced “more than 20” operators to sign up for data licenses – the cost of which can top six figures, depending on usage – and that they don’t close accounts “until the licensing process has been fully explored.” An anonymous exec from one of the operators blocked in this fashion told eGR the tactic was “the biggest sign that [Betfair are] going more towards fixed-odds; the fact that they see certain operators as competition.” The unnamed exec suggested the timing of the action was related to Betfair’s new CEO Breon Corcoran officially taking the reins, but Johnson said the process was well underway before Corocran’s tenure began.
Whether this will have an effect on end punters - theoretically it could mean that prices at bookmakers would drop if it means they can't hedge as efficiently as before, although that presumes that a. operators rely on Betfair to hedge quite heavily and b. that they don't manage their risk internally very well - both presumptions which are dubious to say the least (apparently GBE (whitelabel: Betdaq etc) are the wholesale hedging manager of choice, not Betfair).