Is there any logical way that a “cloud Bitcoin mining” operation could be anything but a scam?

A few years ago, I paid (don’t remember now if it was in Bitcoin or fiat) for a subscription to this “Cloudhash” scam. Basically, they claimed that I was “renting” a miner in their big facility, or more likely, they used my money (together with many other customers’ money) to buy a bunch of miners that they put into a data center or some sort of facility, and then I could “watch the Bitcoins roll in”.

As you can imagine, the amount in my control panel never reached above $2, far below what was allowed to be withdrawn. I never made a single dime. As far as I’m concerned, that was a scam. But does it necessarily have to be a scam? Or is there some way that somebody could legitimate run such a thing and actually pay out any kind of meaningful amounts of Bitcoin to the customers?

I read so many stories of people never getting their miners from China, or getting them so late that they had already become obsolete when they arrived. I realized that the power would go out in my apartment even if I did buy one, got it and hooked it up here. Not to mention the noise and heat generated would’ve driven me insane. It simply was not practical in my situation (which has not changed) to mine myself. That’s why that service seemed so attractive to me, requiring me to do nothing but let them mine for me and I would get at least some coins.

I will say that I was skeptical, but I assumed that I would at least get back the money I had put in. Nope. Not even that.

Is there something which mathematically prevents this from ever working out?

Is there such a thing as a non-scam project that does this? Somebody who perhaps has rented a big basement with free power next to their uncle’s nuclear power plant or something like that? Wouldn’t it make sense for them to use my amount to buy another miner (or part of one) and then I would regularly get “my share worth” of satoshis?

Or am I pipe-dreaming here? Am I a naive fool who fell for the oldest trick in the book? And you all find it funny that I could ever believe that such a thing could exist?