Secrets of Pinnacle’s success with Paris Smith

Originally posted on CalvinAyre.com by Becky Liggero:

I’ve always regarded Pinnacle one of the online gambling industry’s strongest operators backed by one of the industry’s most respected leaders.  Put aside the fact Pinnacle’s CEO is a rare female in a C-level position within iGaming, Paris Smith has been successfully leading her organization for over a decade and has rightfully earned the respect of internal and external iGaming professionals alike.

Pinnacle has maintained its position as a powerhouse in online sports betting since its inception in 1998 and is now recognized as the leader in eSports offerings, an area of sports betting Pinnacle has built up since 2010.

Running such a finely oiled machine is quite an accomplishment for Smith and learning what goes on behind the scenes at Pinnacle was the purpose of this interview.  Paris Smith and I have plans to meet in person shortly, so stay tuned for an on-camera follow up conversion coming soon.

Paris Smith PinnacleBecky Liggero (BL): Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk with me today, Paris.  We all recognize Pinnacle as an industry leader in sports betting, how have you managed to maintain one of the best offerings on the market for so many years?

Paris Smith (PS) Unsurprisingly Pinnacle’s success and popularity is closely linked to the market leading odds we offer on multiple sports day in, day out. Our low margin model, high limits and the fact that we welcome winners (rather than exclude them) also differentiate us from any other operator in the market.

BL: Your model is certainly one of a kind. Can you provide us with a quick update on Pinnacle’s eSports offering? How are the numbers progressing in terms of growth and in comparison to other sports offerings at Pinnacle?

PS – eSports betting has gone from strength to strength for us. We recently passed the 5 million bet mark and if we keep on this trajectory we should pass 10 million sometime in January of next year. This is an incredible accomplishment for Pinnacle and the eSports trading team as we started from scratch just 7 years ago in 2010. Back then there was no eSports betting market – and now it’s our 6th biggest market by bet count – beating sports as established as hockey.

BL: Impressive accomplishment, Paris- congrats.  How will Pinnacle continue to grow their eSports offering in 2017 and beyond?

PS – We’re in the middle of a total overhaul of our eSports Hub and are investing in the marketing team as well as marketing spend. Whilst we’re keen to defend our #1 positioning in eSports betting we’re unlikely to invest huge amounts into team sponsorships and events like our competitors. Our intention is to be a legitimate supporter and partner in educating players on how to bet strategically and responsibly. That said, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve for the new Hub launch and I’m very excited to see the potential fully achieved.

BL: Interesting that you’re not going to go the sponsorship route as your competitors are doing, can you provide specific examples of how you plan to maintain your position as industry leader in eSports?

Secrets to Pinnacle's Success with Paris SmithPS – As I said, we want to remain embedded in the DNA of eSports at a grass roots level. Being authentic, supporting fans and partnering with eSports media and affiliates are our keystone.  We’ll look for tactical opportunities and markets in which to push one off campaigns if the fit is right and the ROI adds up.

BL: Got it, thank you.  Switching gears here a bit, Pinnacle led the race to the border with Poland. What are your thoughts on such protectionist EU countries and their newly imposed regulations?

PS – I can’t comment on decisions made by jurisdictions or regulatory bodies. We’ll continue to follow the letter of the law in any market we operate in.  Sometimes that means we need to withdraw from markets where Pinnacle is hugely popular, as was the recent case with Poland. It’s a shame, but that’s the nature of the evolving regulatory environment we exist in.

BL: Agreed, it is a shame, especially for the consumers.  So there’s a bit of internal drama in Antigua with regards to gaming regulations and we understand Pinnacle doesn’t plan on renewing the license for your Antigua-licensed subsidiary.  What would it take for you to consider returning?

PS – Once again, it’s not my place to comment on jurisdictional regulations. What I can say, is that we’ll continue to explore license opportunities and prepare applications if a license helps meet Pinnacle’s business objectives in the long term.

BL: Understood.  Before closing out, I would just like to say what a pleasure its been talking with a professional who has been at the helm of Pinnacle for over a decade and is clearly a big part of the company’s success. What’s your number one secret as one of the industry’s most respected leaders?  

PS – I’d have to say hiring the best talent and nurturing it. You’ve got to encourage your team to thrive and grow professionally. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’m lucky to work with an incredibly strong, intelligent and motivated team of people across all our different offices worldwide. They’re the beating heart of what makes Pinnacle tick and I value their contribution and input every day.

BL: I love it, Paris.  I’ve heard you speak of Pinnacle’s outstanding talent on panels at various events in the past, clearly you’re very proud of your team.  Thank you so much for joining me today and I look forward to a face-to-face chat the next time we’re in the same city.

Paris Smith Pinnacle CEO – the continuing success story

Paris Smith Pinnacle

Since becoming Pinnacle (then Pinnacle Sports) CEO in 2008, Paris Smith has successfully positioned the company as the benchmark in B2C bookmaking and built on the cornerstones of unrivalled risk management and unique value proposition for customers.

In addition to this, the CEO of Pinnacle has masterminded a great deal of change since taking up the position in 2008 and more recently, after the new majority ownership was confirmed in March 2015.

 

Magnus Hedman, the new majority shareholder, instantly outlined ambitious plans for the unique and popular business model built on an unparalleled level of risk management. Following the takeover, Paris Smith commented:-

 

“I am extremely excited about working with our new major shareholder to realise a shared vision for Pinnacle Sports, which includes significant product enhancement and expansion into regulated territories. Though this deal denotes an important change for Pinnacle Sports [currently Pinnacle], our customers should rest assured that the fundamental principles that make the brand so unique will not be compromised.”

Less than 12 months later, Pinnacle announced the award of a Gaming Licence by the Malta Gaming Authority Licence in March 2015. This move initiated further plans for expansion into regulated market, and the development of relevant B2B relationships.

“We are excited to have secured a licence from one of the most trusted authorities in gaming,” said the CEO of Pinnacle Paris Smith “The endorsement secures an important foundation for our aggressive growth strategy for 2015 and beyond.”

Another major change the Pinnacle CEO Paris Smith has overseen is the bookmaker’s rebrand from Pinnacle Sports to Pinnacle in June 2016. This change signified the future of the business whilst remaining true to the essence of the brand.

Alongside the change from Pinnacle Sports to Pinnacle, the bookmaker also purchased the Pinnacle.com domain and introduced a new dynamic logo to showcase Pinnacle’s sub-brands for sports betting, casino, eSports, mobile, affiliates and its B2B offering.

Following the rebrand, Paris Smith said the following:-

“Our customers, industry peers and team members have known Pinnacle Sports as ‘Pinnacle’ since we launched in 1998, so our rebrand is really just a natural evolution. We were already looking at refreshing the brand to reflect the growing family of betting verticals we offer beyond sports so when we had the chance to acquire the Pinnacle.com domain it was too good an opportunity to pass up”.

 

Under Paris’s guidance, Pinnacle was given the prestigious honour of being named the SBC eSports Bookmaker of the Year and EGR eSports Operator of the Year in late 2016. These awards highlight how the company has established itself at the forefront of the growth in eSports betting. Since Paris Smith became Pinnacle CEO, the bookmaker took its first eSports bet in 2010. In the years that followed, Pinnacle increased its eSports offering and took their 1,000,000th eSports bet in late 2014.

 

Although Paris Smith has been CEO of Pinnacle for less than ten years, she has overseen a whole host of changes that have drastically changed the bookmaker’s direction, image and reputation. Despite these changes, Paris has stuck to her word of maintaining the solid foundations the company is built on. There will undoubtedly be more grand plans for the future but Paris can certainly reflect back on her first ten years as Pinnacle CEO and be proud of what she has achieved.

 

Paris Smith Pinnacle CEO – The Journey to Success

Paris Smith Pinnacle

Paris Smith is in her eighth year as CEO of Pinnacle – one of the world’s largest and most respected online bookmakers. In a stellar career, spanning two decades within the betting industry, Paris has developed an unrivalled understanding of the functioning and direction of both the off and onshore gaming sectors.

The knowledge and experience that Paris has gained over the years has seen her advise governments (such as Antigua) on regulatory paths, as well as working closely with key service providers to ensure the gaming sector is adequately serviced. In addition to this, her expertise has enabled the organisations she has worked with to grow within the industry and increase their market share.

Paris’ career path began as Executive VP of WWTS in 1995, where she played a pivotal role in the success that saw the company sold to Betcorp Ltd. Following recognition of this success, she served as COO of the publicly listed organisation until June 2006. Her next move saw her join Pinnacle (formerly Pinnacle Sports) as COO of the Curacao based bookmaker.

Paris Smith successfully managed the company’s aim of engineering a focus away from North America toward growth in Asian and European markets, and the huge organisational and technical restructuring this necessitated. Pinnacle soon recognised Paris’ efforts in the refocusing of the business and she was promoted to CEO in 2008.

In addition to overseeing Pinnacle’s core aim of building trust within the betting community through its integrity, its values and by providing a high level of customer satisfaction to complement its USPs, Paris Smith has been central to several organisational and operational changes in her role as Pinnacle CEO.

She has positioned Pinnacle as the benchmark in B2C bookmaking and built on the cornerstones of unrivalled risk management and unique value proposition for customers. The bookmaker has since solidified the reputation of when “Pinnacle moves odds, others follow”. With a current focus on regulation and a move toward B2B services, Paris Smith is aiming to make Pinnacle the dominant force in both verticals.

Continue to part 2 of Paris Smith Pinnacle CEO bio

Paris Smith Pinnacle CEO Announces New Strategic Vision

Paris Smith Pinnacle

Pinnacle announce new ownership & strategic vision (Mar 3, 2015)

Leading online bookmaker, Pinnacle, unveil new owners with a strategic vision for significant global expansion backed by cutting-edge product development.

(Willemstad, Curaçao) Industry leading bookmaker, Pinnacle, has confirmed a new majority ownership with an ambitious strategic vision. A deal was concluded in August last year that will see the Curaçao-based operation further capitalise on its unique bookmaking model, with a concerted drive into new global markets, backed by roll-out plans for cutting-edge new products.

The expertise and industry-specific knowledge provided by the new ownership are expected to drive expansion into regulated markets, including Asia, along with significant upscaling of IT infrastructure.

The announcement promises exciting changes for Pinnacle’ large international customer base, but Pinnacle CEO, Paris Smith, was keen to stress that against this background of strategic change, the company is maintaining a business as usual focus – delivering the best value odds online.

“I am extremely excited about working with our new major shareholder to realise a shared vision for Pinnacle, which includes significant product enhancement and expansion into regulated territories. Though this deal denotes an important change for Pinnacle, our customers should rest assured that the fundamental principles that make the brand so unique will not be compromised.”

About Pinnacle 

Pinnacle (www.pinnacle.com) was established in 1998, and since that time has been offering bettors a unique alternative to other bookmakers. Its gimmick-free approach simply focuses on offering the best odds and highest betting limits for every market, so bettors win more compared to the competition.

Keep up to date with what is happening at the world’s biggest online bookmaker @PinnacleSports

 

More on Paris Smith, Pinnacle ownership, CEO and company information you can find on the Pinnacle Wiki Page

Pinnacle (Sports) aiming for UK return

Paris Smith, Pinnacle (Sports) CEO has not officially confirmed…

Paris smith pinnacle sports ceo
Paris Smith Pinnacle CEO

…but rumours are that  Pinnacle (formerly Pinnacle Sports) Bookmaker is set to return to the UK!

Great news for UK bettors and affiliates in the New Year. Pinnacle has applied for a gaming license in the UK and is expected to offer their unique betting services to British bettors in 2017.

Ever since Pinnacle left the UK betting market due to tax reasons in November 2014, the gap that the bookmaker with the unorthodox ‘winners welcome” approach was never filled.

What would Pinnacle’s return mean for UK bettors?

What makes Pinnacle different to mainstream bookmakers is that their business model is based on risk management rather than incentives.

Pinnacle’s risk model is based on maximising volume and it is therefore irrelevant whether an individual player is winning or losing.

A visit at Pinnacle’s website is enough to give you an idea of what that looks like.

While big bookmakers offer rounded odds of 1.35, 1.50 or 2.10, it is not unusual to find Pinnacle odds calculated to the third decimal point, such as 1.469, 2.892 or 3.685.

It is no secret that bookmakers track players who make profits consistently and limit or close their accounts. With Pinnacle returning to the UK soon, there is no reason for UK based customers to worry about this anymore.

That is the reason behind their eyebrow-raising tagline ‘Winners are welcome. Successful players sharpen our odds’, that keeps both UK bettors and affiliates alike in eager anticipation of the big day.

Pinnacle – eSports Operator of the Year

The alternative bookmaker, who relies on pricing to attract customers, recently rebranded themselves and expanded their offering in new exciting markets with results that did not go unnoticed.

The company accepted their first bet online in 1998 under the official name Pinnacle Sports. 18 years later, in June 2016, the established bookmaker changed their household name to Pinnacle after acquiring the pinnacle.com domain name.

As part of their fresh approach, they put extra emphasis on the up and coming eSports betting markets. Their efforts were recently crowned with success when Pinnacle was named eSports Operator of the Year at the 2016 EGR Intel awards.

Marco Blume Pinnacle SportsAt the beginning of 2016, Pinnacle’s Trading Director Marco Blume, announced:

‘I expect eSports to surpass Ice Hockey in terms of bet count by the end of 2016”

Upon winning the eSports Operator of the Year award, the Trading Director said:

‘As of today, eSports wager count is 10% ahead of Ice Hockey for 2016.”

Apart from live odds and tournament listings, the Pinnacle eSports Hub offers in-depth articles on eSports betting tactics and strategy.

For those interested in alternative betting markets, keep an eye on Pinnacle’s Specials, where you will find odds on all sorts of alternative betting markets such as the Words Drone Racing Championships that they recently offered.

When will Pinnacle enter the UK market?

Although the acquisition of the UK license and the official date of entering the market is yet to be announced, their regulatory expansion is now seen as a matter of time.
After being awarded a license in Malta in March 2015, the UK license application is expected to follow the same track. Once that is complete, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Pinnacle expanding further into European regulated markets.

Best way to keep an eye on Pinnacle’s expansion strategy is to follow their official social media accounts, either on Twitter @PinnacleSports or Facebook.

Or you can follow WillowBreeze Ltd’s marketing blog for more news on the betting industry or Pinancle