Through personal experience and information gathered I have come to the following generalization, not all arcades but most can be described by doing the following. A deposit, training fee and capital contribution are all the same thing. If you join a true prop firm there is none of this going on. Whenever you put any sort of money into a firm that you are going to trade for it is simply a risk deposit no matter what the firm calls it. They very well may teach you along with it but if you put up 5k and go negative 5k you will be asked to put up more money or be let go. This is for the most part, I'm sure that in some firms if you lose and they see talent they will let you go a little further but the bottom line is that whatever you want to call it, it's a risk deposit. There are ways to get around SEC guidelines for a none broker dealer to fudge with the wording but in reality the only way you're seeing a cent of that money back is if you take home checks. Ask any trader that's traded at one of these places, the "training fee" is usually about the exact same amount as the "put more money up or you're fired" negative number.