02/19/2016 09:07 EST | Updated 02/19/2016 09:59 EST

'Jeopardy!' Can't Take Canadian Applicants Anymore

The answer, for $200.


"Who are Canadians?"


"I'll take 'People Who Just Got Screwed' for $400 please, Alex."

Canadian trivia-nerds everywhere are sure to flip when they find out that they can't apply to compete on "Jeopardy!," the challenging game show hosted by fellow countryman Alex Trebek.

The reason? Canadian privacy laws, apparently.

To play "Jeopardy!," you first have to register, take an online test with 50 questions and then pass an audition to appear on the show.

But if you go to the "Jeopardy!" website, you'll find the following in an FAQ section about being a contestant.

Q: Are Canadians eligible to take the test?

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

It's not entirely clear why. But "Jeopardy!" spokeswoman Alison Shapiro indicated to The Ottawa Citizen that it could have something to do with anti-spam legislation that was passed by Stephen Harper's government in 2014.

"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," she said in an emailed response.

Trebek himself told Global News and the Citizen that "new rules set down by the Canadian government" have precluded "Jeopardy!" from accepting entrants from the Great White North.

canadians on jeopardy

However, he added that contestants remain inside a pool for 18 months, and that seven Canadians have appeared this season. A Canadian will appear on the show Monday, and two more will be at the podia in March.

"We look forward to having more try out as soon as we are sure we can comply with all Canadian online privacy laws," Trebek said.

The anti-spam law restricts the transmission of commercial electronic messages.

The receiver must consent to receiving the message; the party sending it must clearly identify themselves; and those receiving the messages must also have a means of unsubscribing from them.

Internet law expert Michael Geist told Global News it was "strange" the law was being blamed for barring Canadians from competing on "Jeopardy!"

"There is nothing in the law that would preclude Canadians from taking an online test, wherever located," he said. "Indeed, the law is based on obtaining consent."

A person gives their consent when they apply to appear on the show, he added.

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