An alleged illegal gambling operation was shut down Thursday after law enforcement officers raided a St. Cloud business and confiscated devices similar to video slot machines, according to the state Department of Public Safety.

But the company has claimed that it raises money for charity and that patrons who play its games aren't gambling.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED) received a citizen complaint in June that Triple Crown Sweepstakes, also known as Minnesota Sweeps, planned to open in St. Cloud and allow customers to play slot machine-type games.

According to the Department of Public Safety, AGED contacted Triple Crown and told the company that its plan was against the law.

"Our goal is always to educate first, but we will act when someone resists our efforts and chooses to operate outside of the law," AGED Director Michele Tuchner said in a statement.

Triple Crown had allegedly approached several bars in the St. Cloud area and said that its products were authorized as electronic pull-tabs included in the recent Vikings stadium legislation, which AGED said was false.

Triple Crown told investigators that it was raising money for charity. On its website the company says, "We make donating FUN!!" On its Twitter feed, the company has said in repeated tweets that it does "charitable gaming in Minnesota NOT GAMBLING."

The Star Tribune was unable to immediately reach a representative from Triple Crown.

In the release, Tuchner warned that consumers should check out any company claiming to be a charitable organization to make sure it's legitimate.

AGED and the St. Cloud Police Department conducted the investigation. The case has been referred to the Stearns County attorney's office for possible charges.

Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495 Twitter: @stribnorfleet