|Products||Sportsbook, Casino, Poker|
|Owner||Pinnacle Sports Worldwide|
Pinnacle Sports (also known as Pinnacle) is an online gaming website that was founded in 1998 and is operated by Pinnacle Sports Worldwide. Since its inception, Pinnacle Sports has become one of the world’s largest, fully licensed, online sportsbooks. Presently, the company has customers in over 100 countries and is available in 19 (including international English) different languages. While most of the company information, including number of employees and gross revenues are kept private, Michael Konik, author of The Smart Money, believes "it would not be out of line to guess that their [Pinnacle Sports] annual handle is in the billions of dollars."
Pinnacle Sports is located on the island of Curaçao, and is fully licensed and regulated by the Government of the Netherlands Antilles (license number: 8048/JAZ2013-013), which also functions as the regulating body for the gaming industry. Regulation requires that Pinnacle Sports must maintain sufficient funds to be able to honor the winnings of their customers at all times.
Reduced Margin Pricing
When Pinnacle Sports began trading in 1998, most gaming companies used bonuses to lure potential customers. Rather than offer sign up or reload bonuses, Pinnacle Sports became the first sportsbook to introduce a reduced margin pricing model or reduced juice, thus deriving profit from lower margins but a far higher turnover. Pinnacle Sports began offering -105/-104 ($1.95-$1.96) prices on head-to-head match odds and spreads, significantly undercutting the standard -110 ($1.91) pricing model that was used by its competitors.
Pinnacle Sports is able to operate under this pricing model by posting opening 'overnight' lines with smaller limits. This allows Pinnacle Sports to shape their lines according to the betting activity of 'sharp' bettors without exposing the book. According to Noble, these early, low limit bets ultimately allow Pinnacle Sports to offer betting limits with confidence as high as $50,000 or more on selected games with their low margin pricing model.
Although Pinnacle Sports is best known for its sports betting service, Pinnacle Sports has also operated an online casino since September 2004.
The site offers the following casino games, in cash, high-stakes cash and a free play format:
- Video Poker
- Pai Gow Poker
- Stud Poker
- Oasis Poker
- Hold’em Poker
- Three Card Stud Poker
- Single Line Slots
- Multi-line Slots
- Progressive Slots
In August 2008, Pinnacle Sports entered the online poker realm, in hopes of taking advantage of the online poker phenomenon. Pinnacle’s Sports' poker room was run and operated by Entraction software. The same poker network is used by other online gaming websites, such as Betdaq, I4Poker and Redbet.
In June 2011, Entraction informed Pinnacle that due to changes in EU gaming regulation their Curaçao license was no longer accepted. Pinnacle Sports closed their poker room on 13 June 2011 stating “the steps required to remain within the Entraction Network will necessitate a significant commitment for Pinnacle Poker. Given that our current focus is on developing our leading Sportsbook and Casino products, we have decided not to pursue the necessary changes.
In 2010, Pinnacle Sports was one of the first global bookmakers to offer odds on eSports. What began as an experience quickly turned into a major market which have doubled in size for four consecutive years (2010 to 2014). According to Pinnacle Sports, eSports is now the 7th largest market for them in terms of volume, exceeding regular sports like Golf and Rugby. Pinnacle Sports is expected to reach the historic milestone of a total of one million eSport bets in December 2014.
Exit from US Market
On January 11, 2007, in what was considered a controversial move, Pinnacle Sports voluntarily announced that it would no longer accept wagers from customers based in the United States in accordance with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which was passed on September 30, 2006. The law, which was a last minute addition to Security and Accountability For Every Port Act, stipulates that “participants in designated payment systems to establish policies and procedures reasonably designed to identify and block or otherwise prevent or prohibit transactions in connection with unlawful Internet gambling.” At the time, Pinnacle Sports posted the following message to their U.S. based customers:
“After careful consideration, Pinnacle Sports has chosen to voluntarily exit the U.S. market. Accordingly, wagers will no longer be accepted from clients within the U.S. as of Thursday, January 11, 2007.”
At the time of the announcement, nearly 60-65% of Pinnacle’s customers were based in the United States. Passage of the legislation led Pinnacle to have problems with transactions involving US banks. Shortly after the decision, an executive at Pinnacle Sports was quoted as saying: "When the U.S. focuses on something and says 'Enough,' and when they go to war, no individual company can possibly win in a fight of this nature." The executive also reportedly said that "since the Internet Gambling Bill went into effect, we have lost the ability to do business with many quality banks."'
After the decision, Pinnacle teamed up with World Sports Exchange (WSEX) to offer their US based customers an alternative to their website. At customer’s requests, Pinnacle willingly transferred all money left in US based accounts to new accounts at WSEX.
On December 19, 2008, Pinnacle ceased offering odds on North American horse racing. Although no official reason was given, it is believed this decision was made due to ongoing pressure from the U.S. Government, as well as a general decline in interest from their non US based customers. Update to statement regarding closure of British player accounts
- After Pinnacle, It's All Downhill From Here, washingtonpost.com, 17 January 2007, accessed 18 April 2009.
- Pinnacle Sports Review, esports-betting.pro
- The Pinnacle Pulse: Inside the Wagering Line, sportsinsights.com, 20 September 2006, accessed 19 April 2009.
- Entraction Customers.
- Pinnacle Poker closed due to updates to EU poker regulation.eog.com, July 20th, 2011
- Pinnacle Sports road to one million eSport bets.esportbetting.eu, accessed 12 December 2014
- Internet Law - Implementation of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act is Coming, ibls.com, 8 October 2007, accessed 18 April 2009.
- Pinnacle Sports stops accepting U.S. bets, casinocitytimes.com, 11 January 2007, accessed 18 April 2009
- Offshore Gambling Site Stops Taking U.S. Bets, bloodhorse.com, 12 January 2007, accessed 18 April 2009.
- Pinnacle Sports halts US horse racing service, reviewed-casinos.com, 19 December 2008, accessed 19 April 2009.