Discrepancy between social demands and public resources has become apparent in many countries worldwide. Institutions and industries involved in public services seek new forms of collaboration and combine all available public and private skills to circumvent problems. Advocates of public–private partnership (PPP) assess the progress as convincing. Reserved observers argue that the technique has immanent weaknesses. Putting the phenomena, experience, and discussion into a wider context of gaming helps to arrive at a better comprehension. The paper focuses on road transportation infrastructure issues but its conclusions are of broader interest. Four perspectives are chosen to discuss PPP as a gaming issue. Linguistics, the mathematical theory of games, experimental psychology and the theory of institutions offer useful analytical concepts, theorems and approaches. The gaming perspective allows us to identify and define more clearly several uncertain or misinterpreted situations or actions experienced in PPP implementations. The conceptual identification of positions, motivations and further characteristics is not only possible but helps all partners to better understand the structure, the rules and roles given in the procedure. Use of the gaming perspective in PPP issues seems to enhance 'fair play'. Expected trends of development and further areas of suggested research are derived from the conclusions and conjectures. Application of the gaming perspective is recommended in the development of project delivery techniques, education and training.