Why Jeopardy Is Banning Canadian Contestants

Jeopardy! is one of the longest-running game shows that is currently still on the air. As such, it has fans worldwide, including many Canadian fans who live close to the American border and could make their way to Los Angeles for a taping of the long-running series. However, apparently Canadians are now being precluded from competing on Jeopardy and the game show’s reasoning might seem pretty strange. Reportedly, it relates to privacy issues. 

Currently, if you head over to Jeopardy’s site, there’s any easy-to-use page that explains all of the eligibility requirements for the game show. Some of these are a no-brainer. You must be over 18—unless competing in one of the show’s many Teen or College tournaments, etc—and you are precluded from taking the test if you’ve already appeared on Jeopardy, among other restrictions. Yet, there’s one not-so-cute factoid of information that is also in the eligibility requirements that looks like this:

At this time we are precluded from accepting registration information from Canadian residents.  We are currently evaluating this matter.

Those obviously haven’t always been the rules, as plenty of Canadians have appeared on Jeopardy in the past. In fact, Alex Trebek even told Ottawa Citizen that some Canadians could still appear on the show because they are in the testing pool for 18 months and their eligibility is not up, yet. The Canadian government set up new privacy laws that made it difficult for Jeopardy! to send them the secretive test that determines who may and who may not compete on the series. 

Since Jeopardy is not being open about which Canadian laws scared them off, we can only speculate which of Canada’s privacy laws might affect a Canadian individual’s ability to take an online test. Other outlets are noting it may be anti-spam legislation or even the Digital Privacy Act that is making the game show wary. The former can lead to fines if people are emailed improperly. The latter can lead to fines if people’s data and information are stored or collected inappropriately. 

The new rule became a big point of contention this week when some were annoyed that Alex Trebek, a Canadian himself, is hosting a show that doesn’t even allow Canadians to compete. Trebek stated that he hopes Jeopardy will be able to comply after the privacy laws can be figured out. 

We have had many Canadians as contestants throughout the history of the show, and we hope that will continue, because Canadians make great game show contestants.  We look forward to having more try out as soon as we are sure we can comply with all Canadian online privacy laws.

If you do want to root for Canadian fans on the show, you can do so during the episode that is expected to air tonight (Monday, February 22), as well as a few more episodes that have been taped in March. Those contestants took the test before the new policy went into effect. 

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.