game the system

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game the system (third-person singular simple present games the system, present participle gaming the system, simple past and past participle gamed the system)

  1. To use the rules and procedures meant to protect a system in order to instead manipulate the system for a desired outcome.
    Synonyms: play the system, beat the system, work the system
    • 2016 August 11, Michael Slezak, “Electricity price spikes caused by energy companies 'gaming' the system, report finds”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Huge spikes in wholesale electricity prices in South Australia have been a result of energy companies “gaming” the system and exploiting their unusual market power to charge “monopoly rents”, according to an in-depth report by the Melbourne Energy Institute.
    • 2017 March 1, Prem Sikka, “Philip Green has shown the rich can game the system. We need to stop another BHS”, in The Guardian[2]:
      The moral appears to be that wealthy individuals can game the system, and if the pressure becomes unbearable they can make a settlement – otherwise off they go.
    • 2020 September 15, Mattha Busby, quoting Matt Hancock, “UK families having to 'hack' system to get coronavirus test”, in The Guardian[3]:
      It’s incumbent on all of us to take a responsible approach and tell our constituents that tests are available in large numbers and the average distance travelled is 5.8 miles … And people should take this seriously and not game the system.


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