Pinnacle Sports is at the top of our list of top betting sites outside of the U.S. for good reasons: they’ve often got the best betting lines, have been operating since 1996 with a great reputation, and are in general a top-class operation.
Think of them as the Sam Walton or Henry Ford of online bookmakers, willing to sacrifice big profit margins for volume.
Even though Pinnacle Sports is a major operation (some industry experts estimate more than a billion dollars a year in revenue), the company operates in a low-key manner. They rarely advertise anywhere and have strayed away from big, extravagant promotions and such. Instead, they provide betting lines that are better than their competitors’ in countries, sports and leagues around the world.
Pinnacle is licensed in Netherland Antilles and located in the island of Curacao. Customers from the U.S., the U.K. and Spain are prohibited.
Why Pinnacle Sports Has Better Betting Lines
Most sports betting sites attract customers by offering sign-up bonuses (either cash bonuses or free bets). Instead of offering the same bonuses as everyone else, Pinnacle Sports offers you better betting lines without sign-up bonuses.
Nobody’s against getting great bonuses but skilled bettors generally look for the best lines to bet on (also, since online betting bonuses keep getting worse, they’re rarely useful anymore). The idea is to sacrifice profit margins (profit per bet) and focus on volume (more bets with smaller margins).
These lower margin bets are known as ”reduced juice bets.” The less ”juice” a betting line has, the smaller the cut the sportsbook takes. Sportsbooks create their betting lines based on their estimations of the outcome of the game, add their profit margin and a safety buffer (in case their estimates are wrong). The bigger the profit margin and the safety buffer, the more you have to pay; the smaller the profit margin or the safety buffer, the less you have to pay.
At Pinnacle Sports, you have to pay less.
Normally, betting sites offer you -110 ($1.91) odds on point spreads. If the betting site is exactly right with its predictions on average, you will have bet $110 for every $100 you’ve gotten back. (If there were no profit margins or safety buffers, you’d simply bet $100 to win $100, right?)
Reduced juice bets mean that you bet $105 or $104 and get $100 back – suggesting the sportsbook is right. The sportsbook still makes profit in the long run if it’s right often enough, but more importantly, you get a better deal.
Even the smallest of improvements in the quality of a betting line makes a big difference to a skilled bettor. Even the best sports bettors have an edge of not more than a few percentages so finding the absolutely best betting line is a huge deal. (Two other sportsbooks that also offer reduced juice bets are 5Dimes.eu and HeritageSports.com – unlike Pinnacle Sports, they both accept customers from the U.S.)
Now, you might be thinking that Pinnacle probably enforces smaller betting limits on these games? Nope – in fact, it’s the opposite. Since Pinnacle posts betting lines early with small maximum betting limits, they have lots of time refine their lines based on the way people are betting on that particular line. The result? Pinnacle usually has the highest maximum betting limits in the online betting industry.
Pinnacle Sports has customers from all over the world. One of the reasons they’re able to do this is offering a selection of convenient betting lines to customers from countries where it’s sometimes to difficult to find one. For example, for its Asian customers, you can both deposit and withdraw via Entropay, Webmoney, ChinaBanking, and Chinese debit cards: for Australian customers, there’s Poli; for Polish customers, there’s Przelewy24.
Obviously Pinnacle has all the standard deposit and withdrawal options as well, such as Visa and Mastercard, Neteller and Skrill, and different types of pre-paid cards and online banking solutions. Neteller and Skrill have a 12€ withdrawal fee but all Pinnacle Sports customers get one free withdrawal per month.
Ironically, even though players from the U.S. are prohibited, Pinnacle offers some of the best betting lines for American sports. Compare theirs with any other bookmaker’s betting lines on American sports and you’ll see the better line at Pinnacle at least seven times out of ten. The other form of betting that Pinnacle is often praised for is Asian Handicap bets on soccer games (if you bet on soccer, you should absolutely place those bets at this site). The quality of betting lines outweighs the lack of a sign-up bonus (by far!).
Pinnacle Sports has some of the highest betting limits in the industry and won’t shy away from professional bettors (they welcome customers of all skill-levels).
eSports betting has become a big deal at Pinnacle – it now belongs in the top-10 of their biggest betting markets. They reached their one millionth eSports bet back in December 2014 (the eSports section was launched in 2010) and it’s reasonable to assume that they’ve already exceeded or are getting close to two million eSports bets by now.
The sportsbook is easily Pinnacle Sports’ strongest area. They have an online casino too, though, with games provided by Multislot and Global Gaming Labs (GGL). Multislot provides all the standard casino games while GGL provides the live dealer games.
Up until January 2015, you could find reports of game payout audits at PinnacleSports.com but they’ve quit uploading those for some reason. The reports include the actual payout percentage for each game (not the theoretical payout but what was actually paid out) – therefore if you look at the reports, you’ll see that some games have paid out more than 100%. Pinnacle Casino’s auditor is GLI Test Labs Canada ULC.
Pinnacle Casino has no bonus promotions much like the sportsbook. They give you a 0.3% cashback for each wager, though, although this seems kind of silly (why not just set the payout percentages at 0.3% higher?).
You can contact Pinnacle’s customer service via e-mail only. On the surface, this seems like they invest less into serving their customers than the bookmakers that have phone support and live chat support. Offering e-mail support only is Pinnacle’s way of driving the costs down, though, and therefore being able to offer low-margin betting lines.
Every time I’ve contacted their customer support (and I’ve had little reason to do so over the years), they’ve been fast, helpful and friendly. It would be better if you could call them or chat with them (since that usually gets the job done more efficiently) but I’m satisfied with the quality of the e-mail support.
I’ve said a lot of nice things about Pinnacle throughout this review but they deserve it. It’s difficult to find sites that handle so many parts of their business masterfully.
Instead of focusing on promoting all-but-impossible-to-clear bonuses, posting expensive betting lines and closing customer accounts due to identifying the customer as a skilled bettor, Pinnacle focuses on what every other online bookmaker should focus on: offering competitive betting lines in a wide variety of betting markets and providing great service. That’s it.