Why Pinnacle Sports sucks for the average bettor

Now that I have removed all advertising from my site, I can happily bash bookmakers without worrying about them closing my affiliate accounts. Sadly all the reviews you read about sportsbooks are mostly bullshit, as the people writing them have a vested interest in you signing up. Not me. I’m free to write the truth about each and every bookmaker.

I have been a big supporter of Pinnacle sports on this site. They continue to offer great prices and high limits. Over 50% of my bets last year were placed with them. But over the past year they have done a few things that didn’t sit right with me. I first asked them to explain why they say everyone gets the same high limits while clearly disproving it. I then asked why they offer lower odds on Parlay bets then straight bets. I have also mentioned that they now send certain bets to a trader and cancel bets, Pinnacle denied this ever happens but a number of readers have also seen the problem. There also seem to be issues with some UK customers as I believe they are trying to get a license there at the moment.

Their most recent move has been to increase the industry standard of one times turnover on deposits to five times turnover on deposits. They even have the audacity to say

failure to meet our industry standard deposit roll-over threshold (five times deposit amount) will incur a 3% processing fee on the deposit and any applicable withdrawal fee.

This is just an out and out lie by them. The industry standard they speak off has always been and still is one times turnover. Now there are a number of reasons I have heard of why they have done this, but the simple real reason is so they can make more profit.


Not really true advertising

One of the these reasons is to stop money laundering, so what they are really saying here is “you can money launder through our site, but give us a fair cut”. Another reason which I can understand is that people are simply depositing to get reward points (Neteller or Credit Card), turning over once and then withdrawing and redepositing. Pinnacle does pay a fee every time someone deposits. Credit Card companies charge about 1% and Ewallets usually a little more. Pinnacle could stop this by talking to the Ewallets and not allowing points to count (as Betfair and others have done).

Why is Pinnacle crap for the average punter?

So why do I say that Pinnacle sucks for the average punter? Before I can state why, I will first need to make some assumptions. My idea of a typical punter is below.

Assumptions of the average bettor (from talking to employees of Australia’s biggest bookmakers)
  • Average bet size of $30
  • Average of 6 bets per week
  • Usually withdraws at the end of every week
I will also add a few other provisos to make the maths as easy as possible.
  • Bets line bets only (Pinnacle 1.952, other books 1.91)
  • no multis
  • will happily take up bonus offers
  • will not take Horse racing into equation as Pinnacle does not bet that
  • punter will only use the one website (doesn’t shop for the best odds)
  • punter hits line bets at 50%
  • flat bets

Now you have to understand that the average punter is a losing punter. They place a few bets on the weekend and withdraw whatever is left on Sunday afternoon. We now have some figures to work with.

note: this is a very simple breakdown of an average punter and may be far from what they are really like. But the average stake size is correct and the amount turned over each week is also very close.

The (very simple) maths

With 6 bets per week and $30 spent on each bet. The average punter will bet $180 a week. The average punter also doesn’t look for value, so will place all his bets at the one place. Using all this data we can assume that he will win 3 bets per week. Again, this is on average over a whole year.

Return at your average Australian bookmaker

3 line bets @ $1.91 for $30 a bet lost = -$90.00

3 line bets @ 1.91 for $30 a bet won = +$81.90

Total loss for the week = $8.10

Total loss over a year is $8.10 * 52 = $421.20

Return at Pinnacle

3 line bets @ $1.952 for $30 a bet lost = -$90.00

3 line bets @ 1.952 for $30 a bet won = +$85.68

Total loss for the week = $4.32

Total loss over a year is $4.32 * 52 = $224.64

We have a clear winner right. If only our average punter would place all his bets at Pinnacle, he would only lose $224.64 a year. He would be $196.56 better off. But it’s not so simple is it. Remember that Pinnacle customers need to turnover their deposits 5 times before they can withdraw. So straight away our punter is at a disadvantage betting there. The same $150 deposit he puts into the Australian sportsbook on Friday and withdraws on Sunday will need to stay in his Pinnacle account for 5 weeks. So over the year he will make $9,360 in deposits to the Aussie bookie and only $1,872 to Pinnacle. If our punter was using a rewards credit card then he would make an extra profit off $60 by sticking with the Aussie bookie. Still, Pinnacle is $136.56 in front.

Pinnacle boasts that it does not offer bonuses and says their odds more then make up for that. But most Australian bookies offer a $500 deposit bonus (many offer much higher). This needs to be turned over the industry standard once and only winnings from the freebet are added to the account. These bets can easily be matched off on betfair to retain 70-80% of the bonus. So at worst this free bet is worth $350 to our average punter. So now the Australian bookies are looking a lot more attractive with a lead of $213.44. But it doesn’t stop there.

aussieAustralian bookies are in a very giving mood at the moment as they all fight to sign up as many customers as possible. They not only give a very nice welcome bonus, but every week they have many ongoing bonuses. They have free bets, refunds, value bets, and even return losses when something weird happens (this week alone I received $700 back when a horse went berserk in a race, the bookie decided to pay out the winner and refund all the other bets). Being extremely conservative here, I would say there is another $500 of value for your average punter by taking up a few of these offers. So now the Aussie bookie is looking really good and is easily $713.44 better off then Pinnacle in a year. There has never been a better time for Aussie punters (well maybe a few years ago, but its still amazing).

Whereas the average punter has zero chance of making a profit at Pinnacle, with credit card rewards, signup bonuses and ongoing bonuses, your average Joe could very easily come out ahead each year by betting at Aussie bookies. While I hate giving any credit to the Australian bookies, it’s a pretty clear choice for any aussie punter.

If all you want to do is place a few bets over the weekend for a bit of fun, then stick with the Aussie bookies. Luckily there is no rule that says you can only bet at one bookmaker. So you should be getting the best of both worlds. Take the better odds when you can at Pinnacle (knowing that you can’t withdraw until you turnover the very non industry standard 5 times), and take up the offers at the Aussie books. This is where I would usually pitch you about my service that shows you how to make the most from all these bookmakers offers and also how to use Pinnacle to your advantage, but as the service is not accepting new members right now, you won’t have to listen to me blab on about it.

Why Pinnaclebet has an uphill battle

Pinnaclebet is Pinnacles attempt to join the Australian market. I feel they have a huge uphill battle ahead of them. As they do no advertising and offer no incentives to join, only current Pinnacle customers might make the move to the Australian version. They may get new customers via word of mouth but will not build up much of a base. The current corporate bookmakers in Australia really have nothing to fear from Pinnaclebet. It just doesn’t offer value to most people.

Yes Pinnacle is the world’s best bookmaker…. for high turnover bettors. For the other 98% of people it’s better to go with the ones that offer bonuses and the industry standard 1x turnover.

I’m sure most of my readers are Pinnacle lovers, so you can attack me in the comments below. Have at me.

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  • Thomas Henry

    Good article Steve.

    I didn’t know Pinnacle had brought this rule in.

    Do you know when they introduced and where can I find the info on their site. I had a look under Payments and FAQs, couldn’t find any reference to the 5x rollover & 3% fee.

    The move could be designed so as to ensure they retain more customer money on deposit and dissuade people from withdrawing?


  • Ewan Gibson

    I moved my cash out as soon as I read this in an email from pinnacle. I simply don’t use them enough to have cash sitting there doing nothing. Reminds me of the film casino where they deliberately keep the high roller in the hotel until he loses all his winnings.

  • manuser7

    thanks Steve for this relevant article
    as i am a “big” bettor myself i don’t feel too concerned by the turnover problem but what I don’t like about Pinnacle is the very limited InPlay market, and the lower odds on parlays.

    But parlays are not the best way to make money anyway so…

  • beige

    Provoking article, I’m going to jump to pinnys defence, as invited!

    Criticising pinnacle for having bigger than standard limits on losing accounts is harsh. They have a completely transparent standard max bet which is far better than most places and great for the industry. If they take a decent sized bet (and they do) and want to offer some people more then that’s their business.

    Likewise the parlay criticism. For any given parlay pinnacle are much less likely to see two sides business so need extra margin to justify the product. It’s essentially a more expensive product to produce, despite simply seeming like a combination of multiple simple / cheap products this really isn’t the case.

    And for your bettor who withdraws every week… I don’t know anyone like this!

  • Hey Tom,
    They have managed to hide it on the site, I had trouble finding it myself for the article. Try going to deposit options and then reading all the rules on the page

  • Hey Beige,
    Always happy to hear the other side.
    I’m not criticising them for letting losing customer bet more, If you read the article, my complaint is with their advertising. They state that everyone gets the same limit, which is not true. Many times I need to bet 2 or 3 times because the limit is lower then my bet, so I lose out, while a losing customer can bet all at once and get the top price. So it’s clear to me that not everyone has the “same high limits” they advertise.
    The limits are great, but the marketing is untrue.

    The parlay issue I have less concerns with as people would take advantage of them if they left them as is.

    I’m assuming the ring of friends you know are the more professional type, which make up a very small size of the overall market. The normal punter withdraws all the time as he needs access to that money during the week (shocking to think they bet with money they can’t afford to lose, but this is what a lot of people do).

    Thanks again for your reply

  • wah

    The average punter doesnt withdraw once a week they withdraw soonish aftrr a good win about once a week.
    Could pick holes in all your arguements but in the end the moral of the story is the average punter is very lazy and will only respond to marketing they are dont even know pinnacle exist

  • Hey Ewan,
    All the “average” punters I know withdraw when their last bet of the week is over. They sadly need that money for the week.
    It’s easy to say you could pick holes and then not pick any (I did have to make a number of assumptions that could be wrong).. I’m happy to hear them. But yes, the average punter is lazy, only bets at one or two bookies and couldn’t care less about odds or recording of bets. They allow people like me to make a profit.

  • wah

    Pretty bored so lets keep this going but firstly i believe everyone is better off using multiple bookies and the corporates are the best place to start because of bonuses and spe ials.

    The “average” punter if using just one bookie only gets one deposit bonus (not quite true)so that cn not be taken into account on a yearly basis. They are more likely to jump on a quick multi than take advantagd of a real offer and they most certainly are not making any money out of their credit card.

    Yes if they wete half smart they would make 5-10k a year in bouses and get better odds then be winning punters with the same selections but they are not.

    I have tried to explain to many average punters what they should be doing but alas they just want to be the guys on the tv ads

  • I think the issue is we really don’t know what the average mug punter is like. As I mention in the article, I got my data from someone who works for Australia’s largest sportsbook, so would assume that’s a pretty good place to start.

    They will only get 1 signup bonus, but will also get reload bonuses, freebets, ongoing bonus offers and a lot more (especially if they are losing).

    Yep, sadly most punters don’t really care, and that’s what bookies are hoping for, they show them a flashy life and market these winning punters. So real ads would help, punters going into credit card debt, divorces, suicide. But that side is never shown.

  • They are still the best sportsbook in the world. But that is helped by how bad the rest of them are.
    I still love them but they have been doing a lot of things wrong lately.

  • Gabriel

    Steve, if I
    remember correctly, you used to write an article about Bookmaker that can be an
    alternative to Pinnacle Sports when Pinnacle leaves UK last year (my apology if
    it was not you) and can’t find the article in your site. Can you kindly show
    the link navigating to the article or just say Not Me?


  • This was the solution, but they have now also left the UK market.