Language – The Game is Not Worth the Candle
This descriptive proverb – now over five centuries old – has become vogue in recent decades, including in legal writings.
“The Farlex Dictionary of Idioms” defines the same as meaning:
The returns from an activity or enterprise do not warrant the time, money or effort required. For example, The office he is running for is so unimportant that the game is not worth the candle.
According to “The Phrase Finder online”, the proverb is of French origin. It is first found in Randle Gotgrave, A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues  as “Le Jeu ne vout pas larch chandelle”. The first known record of the proverb in English is in Sir William Temple’s Works (1690) as “Perhaps the play is not worth the candle”.
The origin of the phrase is from the time when wax candles – like electricity and gas today – were expensive commodities, the use of which needed to have an efficacious, if not profitable, purpose. Thus, playing cards or other games for financial return well into the night – whether by organiser or participant – needed to have a real prospect of adequate return to warrant candle use.
An example of modern lay usage is: “The developer resigned himself to the fact that the game was not worth the candle in pursuing the development on account of the local authority’s attitude to rezoning”.
An example of modern legal usage is in Smith v Ash  2 QdR 175 at  per Fraser JA:
This case, in which the Magistrate was found to have made a fundamental error which had an unusually large effect upon the amount of recoverable costs in many cases, is very unusual. The legislative purpose might have been informed by the view that in the vast majority of cases the game would not be worth the candle; that the public and private cost of appeals to the District Court against discretionary costs orders made in uncontested proceedings in the lower court was not justified. The different approach taken in para (b) might reflect the potentially larger amounts of costs likely to be incurred in contested charges of indictable offences.