Pinnacle Sports Review
Pinnacle Sports Review – Introduction:
Pinnacle Sports, often referred to as just Pinnacle, was founded in 1998 and is a private company based in Curacao. They are privately owned and as such do not disclose their revenues, but it was estimated that Magnus Hedman paid €160m for a controlling stake in the company in 2014. Pinnacle are widely acknowledged as one of the leading betting companies in the world, with customers from over 200 countries. They operate online only, with no physical retail presence.
Pinnacle were the first mainstream bookmaker to start offering a proper suite of eSports odds, starting in 2010, and have since laid over 1 million eSports bets. Pinnacle’s business model is based upon having the most accurate betting markets, operating at low margins and accepting high volume bets. Their betting limits on eSports are unrivalled and they welcome arbitrage betting, and will not restrict winners or sharp bettors, instead choosing to use their bets to move their lines. Pinnacle does this as they are confident in their traders ability to set accurate lines, and are confident that they can lay sufficient volumes of bets to support such a low margin. Unlike betting exchanges such as Betfair, they don’t apply a premium charge to winners, so they can truly say that winners are welcome at Pinnacle.
In order to follow such an aggressive pricing strategy, Pinnacle looks to cut operating costs in all areas, with the one affecting customers most being that they do not offer any welcome bonus or free bets, aside from in their casino where players are given 0.3% of their turnover back as cash. Click here to sign up with Pinnacle.
Reputation and Reliability:
Pinnacle has a stellar reputation that it has developed throughout its existence, and there are no reported incidents around non-payment. This is perhaps not what you would expect from a Curacao licensed company, given that Curacao is notoriously weak as a jurisdiction, but despite this we can confidently recommend somewhere where we are happy to keep our money and suggest that you would be safe doing the same. Further to this, after Pinnacle Sports was purchased by Magnus Hedman in August 2014, they applied for and was awarded a Maltese Gaming License (a much tougher jurisdiction) on March 19th 2015, enabling Pinnacle to look towards operating in regulated markets such as the UK, where Malta is whitelisted.
Pinnacle – CSGO Betting:
Overall, Pinnacle offer the best odds for CSGO in line with their company’s strategy of offering the most aggressive prices possible, with CSGO priced to a 4.8% overround. This equates to odds of 1.91 / 1.91 on a match between two equal players, and gives you a great chance of taking advantage of any errors that they make in their pricing, which are possible as they are frequently the first bookmaker to go up with their CounterStrike odds, which they price up in-house rather than using a third party supplier or copying another company. They offer almost all leagues and matches, including minor online competitions, and are one of the bookmakers most likely to add matches during the knockout stages of a tournament.
In terms of the bets available, you can bet on the head to head of who will win each match, the maps handicap (for example, in a best of 3, you can bet on the favourite -1.5 maps, so if they win 2-0, you win; or you can bet on the underdog +1.5 maps, so if they lose 2-1, you win), the winner of each map and the map handicap (the winner of the map, plus or minus a set number of rounds). They don’t offer any exotic bets such as round winner, and have not yet offered any betting in running. Like other sports, Pinnacle won’t limit your account if you win, which makes them a great place for both betting and arbing against other bookmakers who offer different lines.
Pinnacle’s eSports history:
Aside from XLBet, Pinnacle were one of the first bookmakers to start offering odds on eSports and they took their first bet on StarCraft II back in February 2010. Since then, they have expanded to League of Legends, Dota 2, Hearthstone, and since September 2014, CounterStrike: Global Offensive. They are most well-known for publicising the fact that in December 2014 they had accepted 1 million eSports bets, and were also the first bookmaker to sign a sponsorship deal with a professional gaming team: the Russian Team Empire, in March 2015. They have also hosted their own tournament, the Pinnacle Sports Pro-Am, on January 4th 2014, with €10,000 on offer for a 16 team Dota 2 tournament. Their obsession with Dota continues, offering the highest ever limits for an eSports event, $1million, on The International 2015 final.
A wide range of deposit and withdrawal methods are available: all are processed through Pinnacle’s secure servers as you would expect from any legitimate bookmaker. These include standard deposit methods such as Credit/Debit Cards, Bank Transfer, Skrill/Moneybookers, NETELLER, PaySafeCard, EntroPay and POLi, as well as Echeque, China Debit Card, E-Payments, iDebit, Instadebit, KPAY, Moneta, Przelewy24, QIWI Wallet, Sofortüberweisung and WebMoney. The minimum deposit varies by currency, but is no higher than what you would expect.
Where Pinnacle are different to most of their competitors is in regards to withdrawals. If you’re the kind of punter who likes to place a bet and then withdraw your winnings as soon as it settles then Pinnacle is unlikely to be for you and you should try a more recreational company such as bet365. Their customers are entitled to only one free withdrawal per calendar month and additional withdrawals cost around $15 for eWallets, or $25 for bank wires. Whilst it’s not a high amount it can add up if you are betting recreationally.
You should also be aware that you will need to turnover each deposit five times, otherwise you will also have to pay a 3% processing fee based on the amount of your deposit. This is because operators incur costs when taking deposits, and Pinnacle can only sustain their low margins when minimizing these costs. For example, if you deposit €100, you would need to stake €500 before making a withdrawal, otherwise you would have to pay a €3 fee. You should also be aware that it is no longer possible to make withdrawals to a credit or debit card from Pinnacle, and we recommend using a bank wire instead. On the plus side, withdrawals are processed almost instantly, so you won’t be waiting long for your money and frequently have it within 5 minutes, though of course this depends on the method you are using.
As Pinnacle’s business model revolves around minimizing their costs in order to focus their resources on offering the most aggressive pricing possible it is only possible to obtain customer support via email or through the help section on their website. Their help section is comprehensive and well formatted, making it easier to use that that of many bookmakers. Whilst telephone support and live chat are unavailable, the quality of their customer service and minimal errors that you will encounter whilst using their website compensates for this.
Their customer service team, who you can contact via firstname.lastname@example.org (csd stands for Customer Support Department), are available 24/7 and are very responsive. They are fluent in 14 different languages: English, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Russian, Czech, Hebrew, Thai, Chinese and Simplified Chinese. If you contact them, the replies that they provide are clear and concise. Overall, whilst the lack of support options is off-putting, this is more than made up for by the rarity of needing to contact support, and the high quality of their email responses.
Website & Betting Options:
For European and Australian customers, Pinnacle’s website will be slightly unfamiliar as rather than using the traditional three column display, with navigation between different sports and markets on the left, odds in the centre, followed by a separate betslip once a selection is made on the right, Pinnacle’s website merges the betslip into the centre section. This means that where the odds are displayed you are able to enter your stake and place the bet, at which point you are taken to a separate confirmation screen prior to bet acceptance.
Pre-match and in-play odds are split out on the left navigation panel, and whilst there is no search option, the navigation is well-structured so it is easy to find the event you are looking to bet on. There is also a “today” option for each sport, that lists the matches happening that day. For eSports, this amalgamates all the different eSports, so matches from Dota2 and League of Legends are displayed alongside CS:GO, however they are clearly separated so you will not be confused as to which game you are betting on. The website only refreshes when you change event that you are looking at, and is quick to load, which compensates for its basic formatting that resembles an excel spreadsheet rather than a bells-and-whistles sports betting website.
Pinnacle’s odds are displayed in European decimal or American moneyline format, and the max bet amounts are clearly displayed when you hover your mouse above the box for your stake on the betslip. You enter your stake in this box, click proceed, and are then taken to the confirmation page. Much of the terminology used throughout the site also harks back to Pinnacle’s previous US focus, referring to 1×2 bets (traditional win-draw-win markets) within their eSports section as “Money Line”, but as the site is so intuitive this is not an issue. They have also recently introduced an alternative Asian View which is available for all customers, which provides a faster betting experience. The confirmation page is replaced by a betslip, and the live odds update within the betslip which is ideal for betting in-running.
Another notable difference is how Pinnacle handles accumulator bets. This is handled through a separate “parlay” page where you must tick the boxes of your selections, rather than adding multiple selections to a betslip as most punters would be used to. You can place accumulators between two and eight selections, but it is not possible to place other exotic bets such as a Yankee or a Lucky 15. Frequently the odds from placing an accumulator are lower than you can get if betting on a match by match basis and playing up your winnings. This is because Pinnacle’s odds take into account the expected volume of bets on each selection, and their accumulator models aren’t able to account for single wagers, thus they need to reduce their risk slightly. Given that their odds are so good, we’re willing to forgive them this.
Whilst their website might not be particularly friendly for beginners, Pinnacle really does cater for professional punters as they provide access to an XML feed for their odds. If you are looking to move away from something like CSGO Lounge and professionalise your betting, this is particularly useful as you can pull Pinnacle’s odds into your application of choice and build models or records from them.
Whilst it is not possible to bet via telephone, Pinnacle have drastically improved their mobile betting platform and it is now easy to register, deposit and place bets from your smartphone. This is similar to most other offerings, and provides easy and intuitive access to the latest CounterStrike betting markets.
Pinnacle was one of the first bookmakers to pioneer eSports betting and offers other games such as StarCraft II, and in-play betting on League of Legends and Dota 2. They also offer a wide range of other sports at the lowest margins around, often as low as 2%. They specialize in soccer, tennis and American sports such as American Football, Baseball and Basketball. Generally they only offer Win-Draw-Win, Asian Handicap, Total Goals and spreads, rather than more specialised markets such as First Goalscorer or Correct Score.
Whilst poker has been unavailable since 2011, Pinnacle has a relatively unusual casino which was opened in September 2004. What makes it stand out from other casinos is that Pinnacle once again does not focus on bonusing, but on providing the most competitive margins on its casino games, with its slots offering up to a 99% RTP. The games are powered by MultiSlot, so they are older with not particularly impressive graphics, but if you are looking for the best chance of making a profit playing slots, then that’s what you are offered here.
In addition, Pinnacle’s only casino promotion is that they refund their players with 0.3% of their turnover in cash, paid every day. This has no wagering requirement, and combined with the low return-to-player, means you can play with almost zero house edge both on desktop or on mobile. Their random number generator is audited and they publish their monthly payouts, providing transparency for players. They also have a Costa Rican live dealer casino powered by Global Gaming Labs, which is similar to other offerings. This offers Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat and Casino Hold’Em, but the RTPs are no better than elsewhere.
Exit from US market:
Up until their exit from the market on January 11th, 2007, Pinnacle’s focus was on the United States, with up to 65% of their customers being based there. However, they no longer accept customers from US in accordance with the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. As online betting is mostly illegal in the USA, CSGOBetting.com recommends US residents take a look at our Fantasy CSGO reviews, which are games of skill that can be played legally by most Americans.
Exit from UK market:
On September 11th 2014, Pinnacle announced in an email to their UK resident customers that they would be withdrawing from the UK market by the end of that month, citing “imminent changes to British gambling licensing regulations” as the reason for their withdrawal. This announcement came just four days before the deadline set by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), September 15th, for gambling companies to apply for licensing under the UK’s new regime, as outlined in the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014. The act stated that as of October 1st 2014, all online gambling companies looking to advertise their services to, and accept bets from UK residents, must hold a UK license.
As Pinnacle were only in possession of a Curacao license, which is not on the “UK White-List”, they would no longer be able to transact with UK residents. They had previously held an Alderney license, which would have entitled them to a grace period whereby they could have continued serving British customers whilst applications for full licenses were being processed, but they had voluntarily forfeited their license in January 2013 shortly after being targeted by US authorities over alleged links to proxy betting by Nevada sportsbooks. The charges have since been dropped or significantly reduced.
On September 26th 2014, another email was sent to customers postponing their withdrawal until November 1st, due to a delay in the implementation to the British licensing changes. Pinnacle stated that they would accept new British customers and honour all wagers placed up to that point, and from then on would only process withdrawals. They enacted this promise at midnight on November 1st and have, to date, made no return to the UK market, blocking registrations from the region.
At the time of their withdrawal, the UKGC’s website listed Pinnacle as having submitted an application for a new UK license, and it was well known within the gambling industry that Pinnacle hoped to obtain a license. It is thought that the UK comprised only a small amount of Pinnacle’s customers and as such there is speculation that Pinnacle wishes to obtain a license for long-term strategic reasons rather than for immediate financial gain. As such it is not thought that the Point of Consumption Tax, which charges operators 15% of their profits from UK residents, is a concern for Pinnacle like it is for many Asian-facing operators. More of a concern to Pinnacle is the requirement for justification for operating in grey markets where the company derives more than 3% of their revenue from a single market, which may be problematic given Pinnacle’s activities in Canada and China and the questionable legality of online betting in those jurisdictions.
There is a school of thought that believes Pinnacle wishes to gain a UKGC license as their Curacao license is held in low esteem in Asia, and they believe that a UK license will be beneficial if current grey or black markets where they have a significant presence are regulated in future.
If you are fortunate enough to be in a country from which Pinnacle accepts bets, we highly recommend holding an account with them. Offering a wide range of CounterStrike matches to bet on at competitive odds and with high limits, if you’re wagering in order to make money then we highly recommend them. If you’re a recreational better, who is put off by the more basic website and prohibitive withdrawal process, then you may be better with an alternative. Click here to sign up with Pinnacle.Sign Up Today