Q: What are Pinnacle Sports' origins?
Pinnacle Sports was established online in 1998 by entrepreneurs who were very familiar with the gambling industry and saw the potential for a new approach to bookmaking – low margin/high volume – which exists in other industries (e.g Walmart)
They developed the necessary trading models to support this, which remain the backbone of Pinnacle Sports’ business. The company grew from the ground up, largely through word of mouth, and this organic growth from within the gambling community is one of the reasons why Pinnacle Sports has such a solid reputation among bettors.
Q: What distinguishes Pinnacle Sports from competing bookmakers?
Pinnacle Sports is distinguished by its primary focus of offering bettors the best value odds, and freedom to bet at desired limits without the fear of future restriction on account activity. We actually operate in a similar way to an exchange; we do not take positions on games, but instead let markets shape themselves, helped by our very sharp players.
Many competing bookmakers try to distinguish themselves through gimmicky marketing but are fundamentally very similar in their basic business models, which are often based on restrictive practices and limited value.
Q: How has Pinnacle Sports established itself as a bookmaker for serious punters?
When any new idea spreads it’s people at the cutting-edge of that niche - the innovators – that adopt the idea first.
So when Pinnacle Sports began taking such a novel approach to bookmaking, it was betting innovators – serious professional bettors - who recognised how radically important our approach was.
Professional bettors need three things, all of which Pinnacle Sports provides:
- To know they are getting the best possible value.
- To know they can bet at their required limits.
- To know that no matter how profitable they become, they are treated the same.
We’re very proud that in the betting community, our position as a bookmaker for serious bettors is such that if a bettor isn’t aware of us, it immediately suggests that they cannot be labelled as ‘serious’ about betting.
Q: Why does Pinnacle Sports welcome winning customers?
The answer to this question is quite straightforward. Our model works on volume, not customer profiling. We need high volumes of balanced bets to enable us to offer such low margins, and are confident enough in our traders’ abilities to know that so long as volume is high enough, our business is viable.
This model means that we seek volume without concern as to whether that comes from winning players or not, so it’s the perfect place for people who don’t want to be limited. As we say on our promotions page, winners really are welcome.
Q: Is Pinnacle Sports' 'winners welcome' policy absolute? Are there any circumstances where a winning customer may have their account restricted?
There are no circumstances in which a legitimate winning customer will have their action limited. Issues only occur if they contravene any of our betting rules (available here).
Q: On your site, you say that your approach "needs sharp players to shape markets". How do winning customers help you to do this?
Winning customers are often the first to bet into a market when the prices are what we might call ‘soft’. They will have their own ideas, from their own proprietary handicapping, about what the odds should be, so if our odds diverge from that, they will dive in. This causes the market to quickly move.
A good example of this was after a recent Champions League semi-final draw, when Bayern Munich began as slight underdogs at home to Barcelona for the 1st leg. Almost instantaneous interest on Munich reversed the situation, and now those early bettors will be congratulating themselves on getting Munich at above the “shaped” market value, and congratulating Jupp Heynckes on a job well done (Munich won 4-0).
Sharp players will also be very active close to start of events, when what we call ‘public money’ inflates the favourite’s odds, which sharper players might fade.
Q: Most bookmakers offer sign up bonuses. Pinnacle Sports doesn't. Why?
Sign-up bonuses incur an inevitable cost to a bookmaker, which many mitigate with complicated and restrictive terms and conditions. We prefer to build what we might spend on sign-up incentives directly into our odds, which is clearer for bettors to see and provides a much greater long-term benefit.
Q: Some bookmakers choose to limit the accounts of their winning accounts or close them all together. What are your thoughts on this business model? Is it sustainable?
Clearly this isn’t something we aspire to. Any bookmaker that takes this route is faced with a constantly high churn-rate of players and the inevitable customer dissatisfaction. As with many other online industries, peer review is becoming increasingly important to betting, underlined by the proliferation of odds comparisons and sites such as bettingexpert, which encourage bettor education.
Any savy bettor will shun a bookmaker that is restrictive in this way, as it is counter-intuitive to bet to win, but use a bookmaker that actively discourages that profitability.
Q: How do you see the future of the betting industry and Pinnacle Sports' place in it?
The recent spate of acquisitions – BlueSquare and Sportingbet – suggests that bookmakers which simply build their business on a marketing concept, rather than meaningful product offerings, will struggle. The demise of these challenger-type brands reinforces our belief that our value-based model will continue to provide long-term growth.
Betfair is undergoing considerable upheaval, in part because as a publicly traded company, it is constantly under shareholder pressure. Pinnacle Sports is a private company, which allows us greater flexibility.
We have several significant projects underway, including website development, which we feel will continue to cement us as the true alternative to what is a very homogenous group of more established but ultimately similar bookmakers offering inferior value and restrictive practices.
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