The Price Is Right: N.S. man reveals what it's really like for a Canadian to play on iconic American game show

A Nova Scotia man competed on the iconic American game show and won, but he couldn't bring most of his prizes back home

The Price Is Right: Canadian Steven Moores won big on the iconic American game show.
The Price Is Right: Canadian Steven Moores won big on the iconic American game show.

Canadian game show superfan Steven Moores achieved a childhood dream when he appeared on The Price Is Right and won big. Now, he's sharing what it's really like for Canadians to appear on American game shows — at least the ones Canadians can participate in.

Moores, of Dartmouth, N.S., reached out to Yahoo Canada after reading a story about the value of prizes on The Price is Right. The popular daytime game show recently featured a trip to Vancouver they valued at $10,000 USD, which shocked some viewers.

Moores went to California with his girlfriend in 2019 so he could have a shot at being a contestant on the show.

“It was kind of one of those childhood things that I wanted to do," he tells Yahoo Canada. “You’d come home from school and the Price is Right was on. My father was on the show in the '70s, so it was something I always wanted to do. He never won so I was like, ‘I want to do this.’”

While attending the show, which is shot in Los Angeles, Moores was not only called down to be a contestant, but he ended up winning an entire showcase.

It was kind of one of those childhood things that I wanted to do.

Americans pay taxes on winnings, while Canadians don't

His big win included a six-night trip for two to Revelstoke mountain resort in B.C. valued at $9,000, an e-reader, his and her ski wear, a fireplace, a chaise lounge and a 2019 Fiat 500. The retail price of the showcase was valued at $31,696.

Moores says the game show values its prizes at specific prices because they’re estimating how much taxes the contestant will have to pay.

“When you win a prize in the U.S., you have to pay taxes on that,” he says.

For Moores, that meant an extra 37 per cent for both federal and state taxes, which amounted to around $12,000 USD. In order to obtain the prizes, Moores says winners must pay the taxes within 90 days from when their episode airs. Contestants can also choose not to take the prizes if they don’t want to pay the taxes.

Though it took a while, Moores was able to receive most of the tax money back, since he’s not an American citizen and doesn’t file taxes in the U.S.

In Canada, lottery winnings and game prizes aren't taxed, as they're considered "windfalls." This is a type of unexpected earnings that for tax purposes fall under the same category as inheritances and gifts.  

“I was able to file taxes in 2020 and get the 30 per cent of the federal tax back, though California is a little tougher and I have to fight for that last 7 per cent,” he says. “I’m still waiting on the California stuff four years later.”

Winners must pick up prizes in the U.S.

Moores also revealed how winners receive their prizes. Prizes won in the U.S. must be picked up within the continental U.S. — with the exception of vehicles.

This turned out to be a big win for Moores, especially since he did not win any cash prizes when he was on the show. However, when The Price Is Right wasn't able to find the car model Moores won at dealerships in Toronto, where he lived at the time, the show wrote him a cheque for approximately $22,500 USD.

“I consider myself lucky,” he says.

Moores also arranged to pick up the rest of his prizes in nearby Buffalo, N.Y., though he only brought the fireplace home. The rest of the prizes, he was told, were not available through the show’s suppliers, so the show ended up giving him an Amazon gift card worth $7,000 USD.

Trip to B.C. turned into a friends get-together

When it came to his trip to Revelstoke, the show advertised the trip as flying out from L.A., though Moores says that wasn’t the case for him.

“They estimate how much it will cost from L.A.,” he says. “But when it comes to booking it, they give you from your home airport to the destination.”

He was also able to invite a few friends to stay with him and his wife at the two-bedroom suite.

“I called the hotel and asked if we could bring some friends and they said sure,” he says. “My friends flew out but they didn’t have to pay to stay there at the bottom of the mountain in this luxury condo.”

LOS ANGELES - AUGUST 1: "Episode 312L" -- Coverage of the CBS Original Daytime Series THE PRICE IS RIGHT, scheduled to air on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Drew Carey. (Photo by Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images)

'Drew Carey was amazing'

Moores has played on a other game shows, including Family Feud Canada and Let's Make a Deal with Wayne Brady. His experience on The Price Is Right was his favourite though, thanks in part to its famous host.

"Drew Carey was amazing," he says. "He is very engaging with the crowd, speaking during the commercials and telling jokes and being comedic. He was hilarious on stage, trying to make you at ease as it is absolutely nerve wracking to be up there. The studio is super warm too with all the lights and very very loud. So incredibly fun."

When the episode finally aired, there was a viewing party at Moores' aunt's house with all his closest family, who had no idea how much he'd won.

"It was so nice to be around everyone and share in my joy finally," he says. "I hadn't been able to tell people prior to, so it was great."