In our report on the Vizard sentencing yesterday, we wrote that Justice
Ray Finkelstein told the court that, when it comes to white collar
crime, the “game is not worth the gamble.” It seems we misheard His
Honour – what he actually said was “the game is not worth the candle.”

But what does it mean? According to the New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy (via Bartelby.com),
Third Edition, the expression means that what one would get from an
undertaking is not worth the effort one would have to put into it. More
specifically, the saying “alludes to a game of cards in which the
stakes are smaller than the cost of burning a candle for light by which
to play.”

And according to quotes website GIGA, it comes from the French proverb Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle,
and is often attributed to Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773), the Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland and paragon of the age of enlightenment.

Peter Fray

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