Being a U.S. friendly online gambling site has given many operators more headaches that it is worth over the years. With the online gambling legal climate changing all the time, one thing remains clear: players still want to bet regardless of what the government is allowing. Pinnacle Sports was a long-standing member of the U.S.-facing brigade of sportsbooks, but no longer accepts business from the country. This review will look at the history of the company as well as how it compares to other sites.
Pinnacle Sports is based in Curacao and has been part of the online gambling landscape since 1998. Back then, the United States was the main source of revenue, but as the company continued to try to legitimize itself over the years, it became clear that removing Americans from the database rather than face any prosecution. Today, the site not only has a Curacao Gaming license but also one from the Malta Gaming Authority, which is an excellent sign when it comes to the safety and security of player funds.
As far as players who are not allowed to play at Pinnacle for real money, that list is relatively short at his stage. Americans are no longer welcome, which also goes for residents of the UK and Spain. From what we can tell, all other countries are able to play with this site.
Having run a sportsbook since the early days of the industry, the management of Pinnacle have had to adapt to the changing technology and betting climate. Specifically, the market has gotten very crowded, so Pinnacle had to do something to make it stand out. We think that it has succeeded with its position on sports bets with low margins (more on that to follow).
Our first look at the Pinnacle site revealed more than just betting lines – the company wants to make you comfortable with the sports you may be considering, so many of them are highlighted on the main page. Each sport comes with a betting guide which can be a very helpful tool for novice gamblers.
The site claims to have the highest betting limits online, which may be the case, but we aren’t testing that during our review. We started to look at the odds pages and found some games to try, but when we clicked on them, we were instructed to create an account first. We prefer being able to see the odds and fiddle around with bets before being forced to hand over our information, but this is the site’s choice, so we obliged. After creating the account, we went back and found the same odds, and were able to make a couple of bets in no time.
There is a full selection of eSports matches to bet on, which is an indicator that Pinnacle is trying to attract a younger audience. Also, there is a Live Betting feature, with the games that are live getting their own tab on the left side of the screen. Overall, the entire betting interface is excellent in our opinion.
The only other product of note at Pinnacle is their casino. They have traditional casino games courtesy of Multislot, a smaller firm based in Costa Rica, while their live casino games (which we think are way more fun so you should try them first) come from GGL. Overall, this isn’t the best casino product that we have seen, especially for a site open to the European market. However, it is clear that Pinnacle only offers these games as an add-on for sports bettors. There are no casino promotions, but everyone that plays earns 0.3% back on every wager they make in the casino.
Pinnacle offers a stripped down version of their betting interface via native app with the Pinnacle Lite app. This is available for both iOS and Android devices, and it gives you access to all the odds in real time. You can make all the single and combination bets you want right from the app, but there is not much in the way of other information like the betting guides. Still, it’s a great option for players in countries where it is available for download (check your app store for details).
For those who prefer to have the whole site at their fingertips, there is a mobile-friendly version of Pinnacle that you can access from the browser on your tablet or phone. Here, you will not only find the betting lines, but also the guides and other information posted on the desktop version of the site. Also, casino players can access the games from this version of mobile play, which means that everything Pinnacle offers is available on the go in one form or another.
Well, this is a first for us. We have reviewed hundreds of online gaming sites over the years, and this is the first time that we have to write the following: there are no promotions or bonuses at this site. This is a bold move for Pinnacle to take, as the norm in the business is to find attractive Welcome Bonuses and loyalty programs offering free bets and cashback.
Pinnacle has taken a stand against bonus hunters and sites who offer outrageous bonuses that cannot ever be claimed. In its eyes, you should be at the site looking for value in a different way. Its position is simple – they are offering you reduced juice, which they claim is the lowest on the market.
If you are unfamiliar with “Juice,” it is the fee that you play the site for handling your action. For example, if you place a standard bet on a game with a spread, i.e. New England -7.5, then you are going to risk 10% on average over and above the bet amount, with that percentage going to the house. IN our example, you would be risking $110 to win 100 on that bet. At Pinnacle, they have reduced that juice from 10% down to 5% so you would only have to risk $105 to win the same $100.
There are other sites that have chosen to reduce their fees on bets for limited times, but Pinnacle is the only site which does it 24/7. When you factor in the highest limits that are offered at Pinnacle, a big bettor could save a lot of money by playing here, which is just as good if not better than the standard deposit bonuses.
Pinnacle has many options for deposits and withdrawals and depending on where you are playing, you will see a custom set of these options in the cashier section of the site. All withdrawals have a nominal fee attached to them, and of course, the e-wallet solutions are the one that will receive payouts the fastest.
You do also have the option at Pinnacle of placing your bets over the phone (minimum bet is $100), so you know the company has a telephone customer service option. We didn’t test the phone option, as we assume they will answer the call in a decent amount of time.
We were blown away by the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Help page. We counted over 200 questions answered, and they are all sorted for your so you can quickly find the topic with which you need assistance.
The other way to contact Pinnacle is via the Live Chat window that opens when you click on the Contact Us button. In total, we think this provides a significant amount of ways for you to get your issues dealt with in a quick manner.
Leaving the United States market may well have been the best thing to ever happen to Pinnacle. Today, while they could use some improvement on the casino side of their offering, the management team have
to be happy with the overall position of the site. Taking the chance of reducing fees rather than giving away arbitrary bonuses has obviously paid off for the site, so we doubt it will make any changes to that business plan. Overall, we were very happy with the sports betting interface, so if you are someone who is sports-focused and doesn’t care much about other games, then we can recommend Pinnacle to you.