Pinnacle Sports Bookmaker - Longevity is usually a good thing to see when looking at online bookmakers.
It does not necessarily preclude the possibility of a new betting agency starting up and providing good betting services, but longevity indicates that customers have remained with the agency over the course of time.
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Another valuable property indicating a solid bookmaker is seeing a bookmaker with enough confidence in their operation to dispense with elaborate gimmickry and language that is designed to create an impression that is not precisely accurate in their attempt to attract new clients.
Innovation is key as well, as the sophistication of online punters evolves rapidly in response to all the marketing efforts directed their way to the extent that the punters who do business with them only to find only smoke and mirrors in the place of substance weed out bookmakers who do not represent a good value. To not innovate represents a form of stagnation and bookmakers that fail to stay abreast of the market risk becoming footnotes in the history of online punting.
One bookmaker that satisfies in these three key areas, as well as others, goes by the name of Pinnacle, and we offer a brief look at their operation here for the benefit of anyone in search of an online bookmaker.
Pinnacle was founded in 1997 as Pinnacle Sports. They will soon be celebrating their 20th anniversary.
In this day and age, a company that has lasted 20 years is obviously doing something correctly, probably many things, for that matter, so they obviously satisfy the longevity criterion. The internet was in its infancy when they started, at least in terms of the World Wide Web on which we all depend so heavily in 2016.
Most people had dial-up internet connections delivered over copper phone lines connected to modems that were laughably slow in retrospect. Pinnacle was conducting operations 10 years before the first smart phone burst on the scene and just as high-speed internet in the inaugural years of the 21st century, fundamentally changed the ways in which we live, work and play.
Pinnacle evolved alongside that technology, continuously upgrading to remain competitive in their selected niche of online punting.
They are licensed in two jurisdictions. Initially, they operated with a license issued by the government of Curacao in the Caribbean. In 2015, they obtained another license from the Malta Gaming Authority to complement the first license. Their licensing authorities account for a key benefit of Pinnacle that will be covered further on.
They underwent a rebranding movement in mid-2016 and changed their name to simply Pinnacle.
In the crowded marketplace for online bookmakers, differentiation from competitors can be challenging.
Pinnacle achieved this by dispensing with the sing-up bonuses for new customers that are a ubiquitous feature with the great majority of bookmakers, especially those licensed by Australian authorities. This would seem to be a glaring example of poor marketing strategy until you read the terms and conditions of the sign-up bonuses touted by other online bookmakers.
Most of the domestic agencies hold licenses granted by Northern Territory. The other states, for various reasons we elect not to discuss, make their own residents ineligible to take part in the sign-up bonuses, mainly to protect their own tax revenue interests. Unless you are one of the 211,000 residents of Northern Territory, less than one percent of the population of the entire country, matching deposits and free bet offers are meaningless.
Even if you are one of our friends from Darwin, Alice Springs or Palmerston, over half the population of NT, the sign-up offers typically carry enough provisos that we typically advise that this is an awful way to decide on an online betting agency.
Pinnacle has instead chosen to go the discount bookmaker route and offer the lowest margins and better odds, two things near and dear to our hearts.
Surveys have placed Pinnacle’s margins at an average of 2.7 percent, compared to the 4.9 percent average for the domestic agencies. When you calculate this difference over the course of 100 bets of $100, the savings amount to $220, a not inconsequential sum.
Comparing Pinnacle odds with Betstar and Sportsbet with regard to the NRL for a match betwixt Sydney Roosters and Brisbane Broncos.
Pinnacle was quoting the Roosters as +3.5 points and 1.892 and the Broncos as -3.5 points at 1.961. Sportsbet had the spread at two points with an identical 1.90 line for both teams. Betstar was posting the Roosters at 2.15 and the Broncos at 1.7 with the same two-point spread and 1.90 line as Sportsbet. Betstar had 23 markets for the match at the time we checked and Sportsbet was claiming 39.
Admittedly, this very limited sampling does put Pinnacle slightly ahead, a factor that would appeal to the value conscious punter and those who must do everything in their power to gain every possible edge.
Those accustomed to the commonly used three-column websites that have navigation on the left, odds in the centre and betting slip on the right will need to plan on adapting to Pinnacle’s substantially different arrangement.
Pinnacle displays the navigation, odds and betting slip one page at a time. It will require visiting three pages in order to see everything. The sports navigation area has a two-column arrangement with drop down menus used to select leagues and the sub-categories within those leagues. Colour coding is used to differentiate betwixt which sports have open markets and which do not.
The odds display on Pinnacle’s site also departs from the norm. It occupies the entire width of the screen. It functions as an input form; when a market is selected, a box opens alongside it for entering the desired stake amount. One convenient feature is that when the mouse cursor is hovered over a stake box, the maximum accepted wager amount is displayed automatically.
Pinnacle uses some unfamiliar terminology. They use “1 x 2” and “money line” rather than “head-to-head.” This difference is quickly assimilated.
After filling out the betting form, the next step involves going to another page to see the betting slip. It takes another page to submit multi bets.
Australian punters might not find the website as functional as they find some of the domestic online bookmakers’ websites, but that is the cost of the discounted margins and higher odds.
We will devote a separate review to the Pinnacle mobile wagering platforms.
Australian punters will find the offerings slim compared to what they have become accustomed to with the main line domestic bookmakers.
This was evident from the earlier comparison, but bears repeating. It is uncommon to find more than three types of bet with Pinnacle.
In addition to apparently lacking Australian Rules Football wagering, Pinnacle does not offer any racing codes.
Pinnacle, being an international operation, supports more currencies and language that the majority.
Minimum funding deposits range from $15 to $30 depending on the selected funding method. They accept credit and debit cards, POLi, bank transfer, Neteller, EntroPay and ClickandBuy. There are no transaction fees on deposits and members are entitled to one free withdrawal per calendar month. Additional withdrawals will incur a fee of $20 to $35. They do not offer credit betting. There is a potential dormant account fee comes into play for a punter who has not logged into his or her account for 12 consecutive months or if the account goes into a negative balance.
Pinnacle does permit arbitrage wagering. More importantly, they claim that they will not restrict the accounts of winning punters.
We mentioned earlier that there is a unique aspect to the Pinnacle operation. That uniqueness is that since they are not licensed by an Australian entity, there is no restriction regarding online in-play betting which is certainly a key benefit.
This distinction may lessen in the future, as it appears that some of the international agencies with Australian licenses have found a way to circumvent the requirements of the Interactive Gambling Act that required punters to place a phone call to bet in-play. Then too, there is always the chance that the regulation may be relegated to obsolescence at some future date.
We personally consider ourselves some of the most frugal (read: cheap) punters anywhere, so we like Pinnacle for the low margins and superior odds they continually offer and Pinnacle does an excellent job covering international sports and markets.
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