Jeopardy!—the ideal show for a weeknight drinking game with your parents—has suddenly determined that Canadians may no longer compete in its battle of mind and wit. This new regulation is curious since host Alex Trebek holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship.
According to NPR, “the situation is being attributed to differences in online privacy laws.” However, the game show’s reference to the matter is strikingly vague. Under its eligibility guidelines, its website only notes the following: “At this time we are precluded from accepting registration information from Canadian residents. We are currently evaluating the matter.”
But Trebek, a native of Ontario, recently told the Ottawa Citizen that Canadian contestants might still appear this season. Via NPR:
“[He]...noted that once they’re in the pool of contestants, people stay there for 18 months, meaning that Canadians who registered before the ban could still appear. He also said the show’s producers hope to make sure it is in compliance with Canada’s laws.
The precise snag that’s keeping Canadians from signing up isn’t being discussed in detail. Reports in Canadian media cite a statement from the producers of Jeopardy! in which they said, ‘As international laws governing how information is shared over the internet are ever-changing and complex, we are currently investigating how we can accept registrations from potential Canadian contestants.’”
It’s possible that either Canada’s anti-spam legislation or its recent Digital Privacy Act could be the legal obstacles to Canadian registration — but this is mere speculation, albeit from legal experts. In the meantime, Canadians have their own theories as to why they’re being barred from participation.
“We keep winning, that’s why! If you can’t beat ‘em, ban ‘em!” writes ComplacentCanadian in the comments of CBC’s story on this odd development.
Commenter Maggie M50 argues, “This is in keeping with the general ‘dumbing down’ of Jeopardy! questions. The last college championships were laughable. You only require knowledge of TV shows, American presidents, and the Bible.”
But for all we know, the fallout could be no laughing matter:
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