Every league I bowl in has a different payout schedule. And yes, the top teams do get more. That is the competition of the Sport.
But, every team should have a payout schedule that has been approved by league vote. It should explain what the $17 goes to. If $10 of the $17 pays for lineage to the house, then you are contributing to a prize fund with the remaining $7. Your objective is to get as much of that $7 as you can. Winners may earn $9 while the lower standing teams may only get $5 back. Each league is different.
One league I am in has a flat return schedule for teams from first to last place. A reward for first, second, third and fourth place finishes. And, individual prize for points won by each bowler. So, even though we are a team, individuals on that team can earn different amounts.
Another league has a fixed return from first to last place, which is 2X for first and X for last.
The final league is social and the payout is pretty static, with the payouts per team lowering by $8-9 per position. That's not very significant.
If your team captain does not have your league payout schedule, check with your league Treasurer or Secretary to get one.
But, in most cases, you can only expect to get your prize fund back, or a portion of it.
LM - Black Diamond 15#
Lord Field - Exodus Pearl 15#
Legends - L/M New Terminator 15#
Legends - L/M Xtreme Damage 15# Strong pearl