This is part 1 (one) of a 4 (four) part series on Pinnacle Sports.
Pinnacle Sports is a well-known online bookie that punters from around world count on for the best odds, highest limits and fastest payouts. Although they don’t accept bets from the United States and France, they are otherwise a truly global betting site.
Currency and High Stakes
Their odds are available in American, Decimal, and Hong Kong format and Pinnacle accepts USD, GBP, EUR and Asian currencies not popular at other sites such as Chinese Yuan Renminbi, Hong Kong Dollars, Taiwanese New Dollars, Japanese Yen, Malaysian Ringgit and Singaporean Dollars. What’s most impressive is this is a site that operates on the lowest margin yet accepts 30,000 USD maximum bets on football point spreads with multiple max bets allowed. Meanwhile, when you cash out (even a large figure) to an e-wallet, the pay-out is processed in a matter of minutes.
Many industry experts consider Pinnacle the most trusted online bookmaker in the world, and the fact they hold a consensus top rating at all major industry review portals reflects this. What’s interesting however is despite this strong opinion of them, very few actually are aware who owns Pinnacle Sports. In fact, for over a decade now betting forums have been inundated with comments such as “I find it odd that so many agree Pinnacle Sports is the safest site for punters to use, yet not a single person on this forum even knows the first name of their owner”. Although I can’t satisfy the critics with a name, I can tell you Pinnacle Sports is owned by talented handicappers and smart businessmen that value their privacy.
Other than that, what I can provide is a detailed account of their history, this is what you’ll find covered in the rest of this article.
Pinnacle Sports Roots
In the early days of online sports betting, many toll-free betting shops operated from Margarita Island. With political tensions rising in Venezuela, the government worked to rid the country of crime, and this included bookies. In 1998, dozens of shops found this the perfect excuse to close down without paying their post-up clients. One of the few exceptions to this was Heritage Sports (soon to be Pinnacle sports) who in March 1998 sent a FedEx package to all players. This packaged contained a letter that informed of their closure and more importantly included a check that paid out the full account balance. This was a classy move and many showed up on betting forums to tell the story of it. After all, most of these punters had just been stiffed by numerous other Margarita Island Bookmakers; very few were expecting to receive this check.
Pinnacle Sports Launches in Curacao
In October 1998, the former Heritage Sports management launched a new operation called Pinnacle Sports, from Curacao. What was most interesting about Curacao as a choice was this was a Dutch territory and their gambling commission had incredibly strict rules. Most bookmakers such as Ron Sacco and Gary Austin found Costa Rica are for more relaxed choice. In Curacao the rules required all gaming servers to be located on the island and more importantly that all players’ funds be kept segregated from operating cash. Promising players frequent spot checks, the Curacao Gaming Commission was doing everything in its power to ensure players now had safe, secure, adequately financed and well regulated gambling sites to wager with.
Pinnacle Sports was still merely a phone in betting shop at the time, so, many wondered why they’d subject themselves to such strict regulation when places like Dominican Republic or Costa Rica were so much more relaxed. Or even Antigua where the first ever sportsbook was located made more sense. In any case the strong gambling commission combined with a management team players already trusted made Pinnacle Sports a logical choice.
The Pinnacle Sport Legacy Begins
Pinnacle began offering reduced juice pricing in December 1998. Rather than charging the same -110 (1.91) that bookmakers had been charging since Charles K. McNeil first invented the point spread back in 1943, Pinnacle charged just -108 (1.926). This offered bettors up to 20% better value than they could get with other bookies. Where their real legacy kicked in was a statement made on 1 June 2001 by then Marketing Director Matt Keats which stated “Pinnacle Sports has worked hard to establish a solid name in this industry. We are well known for fast payouts, competitive lines, taking large bets and never, never closing accounts.” This was the first time it was stated publicly but it’s a reputation Pinnacle has lived up to until this very day, the company has never limit collared, closed an account, or refused a bet.
Pinnacle Launches an Online Betting Site
Although online betting sites such as WSEX existed at that time, Pinnacle spent their early years operating a number of websites that simply listed odds for football betting with rotation numbers; bettors had to call in to make a wager or to even get lines for other sports. There were hundreds of mirrors of this same site available with the most know being pinnacle.an and sportgamblers.com; many of the other addresses were merely an IP address (no actual domain used). On 30 September 2000 their first fully interactive online betting website came online using the URL planetpinnacle.com.