Pinnacle bookmaker review: rules, support, sign up, free bets, site
Not many bookies enjoy the cachet of a namecheck from the Sopranos, but Pinnacle was referenced in the script of the mafia TV drama, with characters praising its competitive odds. That’s been the site’s USP since it went live back in 1998: a minimal mark-up for the house, with typical payouts approaching 99%. For the shrewd punter, that’s a bit of a dream come true, and Pinnacle is especially good on U.S. sports.
And it doesn’t end there. While many sites are quick to restrict successful gamblers – hopefully not quite as forcefully as those fictional Sopranos – Pinnacle has always boasted a ‘winners welcome’ philosophy. It’s not absolutely flawless: punters who consistently profit in minor markets are likely to face restrictions, but overall this is done with a lighter touch than many rival bookies.
Clearly, Pinnacle is geared towards experienced gamblers. The emphasis is on good prices, not flashy offers. There are no inducements to compile elaborate accumulators or single-game multiple bets. Even the layout of the site is set up for people who know what they want and want it with a minimum of fuss. For a novice punter, this might be off-putting; for the sharp customer, it’s a welcome change of pace from the bright lights of the mainstream.
The bookmaker, originally known as Pinnacle Sports, is licensed in Curacao and Malta. Its core website at www.pinnacle.com is available in 16 languages and has a global reach.
However, the days when Tony Soprano could run an account at Pinnacle are past. The company no longer operates in the USA or the UK, due to licensing and tax issues. However, it is still available in more than 80 countries around the world and continues to trade on a reputation for the sharpest odds across a decent range of sporting markets.
Pinnacle’s design is easy on the eye. It doesn’t trade on eye-catching graphics or flashy logos – apart from a discreet company marker in the top left-hand corner, there’s little sign of branding. Instead, you get a front-and-centre view of the current live markets, a navigation sidebar to the left and a bet slip on the right.
One of the more unusual details on Pinnacle is that it doesn’t try to tell punters where to bet. Most sites love to emblazon their homepage with their ideas about today’s big events, but Pinnacle assumes its customers are savvy enough to know where they want to place their money and find the markets that interest them. If you enjoy dealing with people who treat you like a grown-up, this has obvious appeal.
Placing bets on Pinnacle is very simple. Just click on the odds you want to back and the relevant bet immediately appears in the bet slip on the right-hand side. Enter your stake and you’ll see your potential winnings displayed. Then click again to place the bet. Job done.
For punters who like to bet on the move, Pinnacle is slightly unusual. Rather than offer dedicated apps, there is a mobile version of the website. Given the pared-down approach of the desktop site, it’s no surprise that the mobile version easily translates to the smaller screen or your phone or pad. There is a live football app that can be programmed to alert you to the progress of any game. You can’t place bets using this, but you can respond to those alerts by reviewing your positions using the mobile website.
As you would expect, the sportsbook is dominated by football and American sports. Unusually, horse racing does not feature at all on Pinnacle – probably a symptom of the site’s lack of a license for the UK or Ireland, where the turf is a core component of the betting sector. In team sports, though, all the usual markets are present and correct so there’s never any shortage of bets to be had.
One of Pinnacle’s selling points is odds calculated to three decimal places. The company argues that this makes for more generous odds since the impact of rounding up prices is less profound. In practice, it likely adds up to pennies on most wagers, but any edge is better than nothing, right?
Finding your edge often relies on the latest information, and Pinnacle has regular in-depth articles previewing the upcoming action. Since it assumes its customers are experienced gamblers, Pinnacle does not have extensive information or support about problem gambling, something else that may well impact its current prospects of regaining that UK license.
While live betting is a big part of the site, live streaming is not. In addition, Pinnacle does not offer automatic cash-out options for live bets, although it remains possible to use some of your projected winnings to ‘insure’ your initial bet after your chosen competitor moves ahead. It usually takes four seconds for a live bet to be confirmed. The members-only live betting area of the site allows punters to look at markets on up to four events simultaneously (desktop only, on mobile devices this is limited to a single event).
Away from sports, Pinnacle offers markets on politics and entertainment. There is also a casino, which promises live action as well as computerized gameplay, and virtual sports. However, Pinnacle’s poker service came to an end in 2011 following changes to EU gaming legislation.
The traditional sign-up bonus has never been a big part of Pinnacle’s marketing strategy. It is possible to find offer codes online, but the kind of promos, offers and free bets that are deployed in the battle to lure new punters to sites are not big here. There is a $25 welcome bonus at the casino for anyone who deposits $50 or more (or currency equivalent), but nothing similar for sports bettors.
Pinnacle’s sportsbook also spurns the kind of bet boosts, loyalty schemes and similar incitements. The focus is very much on offering the most competitive odds and explicitly allowing players to exploit arbs (overlaps in markets that enable no-risk bets). This, Pinnacle argues, represents a ‘bonus for life’ aimed at experienced gamblers who seek value bets over one-off freebies.
This is probably Pinnacle’s lowest point. While most bookies offer a telephone helpline, online chat or speedy responses via social media, Pinnacle is limited to email contact only. You can send queries to [email protected], or use the feedback form on the site. In either case, you’ll need to include your client ID and use the email address you gave when registering your Pinnacle account. The only live chat option is limited to queries about registration issues. All of this can make resolving issues slower than we’d like.
Pinnacle does have an extensive searchable archive of information about the site, so background information is fairly easy to find. But dealing with specific questions can be more time-consuming.
The issue for most prospective Pinnacle users is whether the site is accessible in their country. When Pinnacle cancelled its American operations in 2007, it said goodbye to almost two-thirds of its client base. It dropped out of the UK market in 2014 and, according to the site’s terms and conditions, Pinnacle is currently restricted in the USA (and territories), France (and territories), the UK, the Netherlands (and territories), Spain, Germany, Singapore, Korea, Denmark, Philippines, Syria, Turkey, Poland, Ireland, Czech Republic, Sudan, Australia (and territories), Italy, Iran, Slovenia and Sweden. It is possible to access the bookmaker from these countries using VPNs, but users should be aware that they will not be protected by any of the licensing requirements in force where Pinnacle operates.
If you are in a place from where you can register, Pinnacle has four steps to secure your account. First, give an email address and password. Next, name and DoB. Then comes a postal address and phone number, before finally getting to payment details. A verification email is sent to your designated address to provide extra security.
Pinnacle operates in more than 80 countries, and accounts are available in 15 different currencies. In addition to traditional payment methods – bank cards, credit cards, e-payment systems – Pinnacle makes a big effort to use local payment systems, such as Russia’s Qiwi or Pay4Fun in Latin America. So it’s fairly convenient to use, wherever you might be.
Another attractive feature is the high limits on wagers. Back in 2014, Pinnacle hit the headlines when it allowed $1 million bets on the World Cup final and today it still accommodates big stakes. Moreover, there is nothing to stop repeat wagers: if the maximum stake is $40,000, bettors can place one bet, wait a few seconds, then bet again – assuming there is enough money in the account.
But there are a couple of issues lurking in the small print. Before making a withdrawal, Pinnacle requires punters to wager 3x the initial deposit or pay a 3% transaction fee. In addition, after making one withdrawal in any given month, there are transaction charges for any subsequent drawdowns of funds from your Pinnacle account. Pinnacle argues this is necessary to comply with anti-laundering legislation but for UK users this is relatively unusual and rather unwelcome. It is possible to work around it by planning a regular monthly withdrawal once the initial wagering requirement is met. At the other end of the scale, the minimum stake is £1 – higher than more mainstream bookies, but still entirely affordable.
Pinnacle is registered on Curacao, a reputable licensing authority for online gambling. User feedback is generally favourable, with no evidence that bets are not honoured or funds being kept. The website has adequate security to protect personal and financial data, although, unlike many bookmakers, Pinnacle does not mention this on its website.
Overall, Pinnacle has a good reputation. This derives from its competitive odds and its reluctance to restrict successful punters. While it isn’t necessarily a site for a beginner, experienced gamblers can bet with confidence here
The major issue with Pinnacle is access – the company left the UK market in 2014 for tax reasons and has yet to return. There were hopes that it might be back in 2017, but these failed to materialise and, so far, Pinnacle has not renewed its license with the UK Gambling Commission. It is also currently unavailable in the USA and much of Europe.
For those lucky enough to be able to use the site, the main drawback is the lack of any real-time customer service option. Live chat is only available to handle registration issues; all queries about bets need to be handled via email at [email protected] This can slow things significantly.
Another significant worry is the restriction on withdrawals. Punters can only make one free withdrawal a month from Pinnacle, with subsequent transactions charging a processing fee. Clearly, it’s possible to plan around this, but when most bookies allow unlimited free withdrawals it would be good to see Pinnacle follow suit.
Pinnacle operates 16 languages including English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. There is a special version for Taiwanese users in the language.
Products and apps
Pinnacle offers sportsbook, casino, live casino and games services for its users. The same services are available in the mobile mode. Pinnacle offers no mobile apps.
You can fund deposits via VISA, Mastercard, Discover and Diners Club cards, Boleto, AstroPay, Bitcoin, Echeque, iDebit, Instadebit, ecoPayz, Skrill, Neteller, paysafecard, Citadel, WebMoney, Interac, JCB, MuchBetter, Multibanco, Neosurf, OXXO, Pay4Fun, Klarna Sofortüberweisung, Trustly, UnionPay, bank transfer.
The minimum deposit sum is £25 for VISA, Mastercard and paysafecard; £10 for AstroPay, Bitcoin, ecoPayz, Neteller, Skrill and Trustly, £50 for Citadel; £1,000 for bank transfers; $10 for Diners Club and Discover cards, Instadebit; $50 for iDebit; €10 for Boleto, WebMoney, MuchBetter, Multibanco, OXXO, Pay4Fun, Klarna Sofortüberweisung; 100 CAD for Echeque; 25 CAD for Interac; 1,000 JPY for JSB; 100 CNY for UnionPay. The maximum deposit is £3,500 for VISA, Mastercard; £37,500 for AstroPay; £37,500 for Netteler; £4,500 for Citadel; £250 for paysafecard; £35,000 for Trustly; $5,000 for Discover, Diners Club cards; $3,000 for iDebit; $2,500 for Instadebit; €750 for Boleto; €19,000 for WebMoney; €20,000 for Multibanco; €200 for Neosurf; €2,500/monthly for OXXO; €500 for Klarna Sofortüberweisung; 3,000 CAD for Echeque and Interac; 50,000 JPY for JCB; 5,000 CNY for UnionPay. The processing takes some minutes for VISA, Mastercard, Discover, Diners Club cards, iDebit, ecoPayz, Neteller, Skrill, WebMoney, Instadebit, Interac, JCB, MuchBetter, OXXO, Pay4Fun, Trustly, UnionPay; instant for AstroPay, Multibanco, Neosurf, paysafecard; up to 2 business days for Boleto; 30 min – 1 hour for Bitcoin; some minutes – 2 hours for Citadel; some minutes to 48 hours for Klarna Sofortüberweisung; 7 business days for Echeque; up to 5 business days for bank transfers. No commission is held by the bookmaker for deposits, except for iDebit – 1,25% only for Canadian residents, 3,45% for paysafecard.
The withdrawal can be made via AstroPay, Bitcoin, Echeque, iDebit, ecoPayz, Neteller, Skrill, WebMoney, Instadebit, Citadel, Interac, MuchBetter, OXXO, paysafecard, Trustly, bank transfer.
The minimum withdrawal amount is £10 for AstroPay, Neteller, ecoPayz, Skrill, Trustly; £50 for Citadel; £25 for paysafecard; £1,000 for bank transfer; $10 for Bitcoin and Instadebit; $50 for iDebit; €12 for WebMoney; €10 for Pay4Fun and MuchBetter; 12 CAD for Echeque; 25 CAD for Interac. The maximum withdrawal sum is £37 500 for AstroPay, Neteller; £35,000 for Trustly; £3,000 for Citadel; $2,750 for Bitcoin; $3,500 for iDebit; $20,000 for Insatdebit; €19,000 for WebMoney; €10,000 for Pay4Fun; 1,500 CAD for Echeque; 3,000 for Interac. The processing takes some minutes for all methods except for Bitcoin and paysafecard – instant; WebMoney – 10 minutes; Citadel – some minutes to 2 hours; up to 10 business days for bank transfers. The processing may take longer if the amount of payout is more than €7,000 or equal for ecoPayz, Neteller, Skrill, WebMoney; more than 10,000 CAD or equal for Instadebit. £8 commission is held by the bookmaker for withdrawal via AstroPay, ecoPayz, Neteller, Skrill, Citadel, paysafecard, Trustly; £12 commission for withdrawal via bank transfer; $8 for withdrawal via Bitcoin; $18 for withdrawal via Instadebit; €12 for withdrawal via WebMoney, MuchBetter, Pay4Fun; 15 CAD for withdrawal via Echeque; 18 CAD for withdrawal via Interac.
|from €20 to €5,000||a few min.||0%||from €20 to €5,000||a few min. up to 5 business d.||0% |
|from €20 to €5,000||a few min.||0%||from €20 to €5,000||a few min. up to 5 business d.||0% |
|from €10 to €750||up to 2 business d.||0%||-||-||-|
Pinnacle accepts 19 currencies including British Pounds, Euros, US dollars, Chinese yuan and Japanese yen.
Pinnacle offers only email option in order to contact its support team. You can either address your questions writing to the email or writing directly from the website.
as an arbitrator
Doesn't lower the maximums
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Pros and cons
As with most bookmakers, this depends on the type of account to which you wish to withdraw your funds. Pinnacle has a good reputation for processing withdrawals fast, and after that, it’s up to your payment system. Using e-wallets like Skrill or Neteller, punters can access their cash almost instantly (although the official guidelines suggest up to two days). Debit cards tend to be slower, with transactions completed in 3-5 days. All payment systems should complete withdrawals within five days.
In a nutshell, you can’t! Pinnacle’s key selling point is high-value odds. The company seeks to attract serious gamblers, including those who aim to make a living out of it. Therefore, Pinnacle wants people who will bet regularly and generate a high turnover on the site. A few quids’ worths of free bets do not much interest these clients, so the usual promo offers are of little value to the business model.
Yes, Pinnacle offers extensive live betting options on all the sports it covers. In-play bets are available on even relatively minor events – Australian U20 football, Japanese women’s football – and members can access an extensive ‘live betting’ area on the site.
Pinnacle supports major debit and credit cards, as well as MasterCard and online payment services such as Entropay, iDebit, Neteller, Paysafecard and Skrill. It’s also possible to use local payment systems from the 80+ countries where Pinnacle is available. When setting up your account, you will be asked to choose your preferred payment system(s) and making an initial deposit is simply a matter of following the instructions on the screen. There is no limit on how much can be deposited.