ST. CLOUD -- The battle continues over whether a St. Cloud marketing company is running an illegal gambling operation under the guise of a sweepstakes. Prosecutors have filed formal charges against four co-owners of Triple Crown Sweepstakes alleging it's an illegal gambling operation.

The Stearns County Attorney's Office has charged co-owners Steve Ehlen and Richard Petty with four gross misdemeanors and four misdemeanors related to gambling crimes. Two other co-owners, Scott Johnson and Lonnie Folsom are charged with six counts, including four gross misdemeanors.

Assistant Stearns County Attorney Bill MacPhail says Triple Crown Sweepstakes is a lottery which is illegal under Minnesota State Law. He acknowledges patrons can play for free the first time, but the donation constitutes "consideration" -- which makes it gambling.

But, Triple Crown Sweepstakes co-owner Steve Ehlen says they vehemently deny any wrongdoing.  He says the charity gets all of the proceeds and pays back the winners and Triple Crown Sweepstakes, which is a marketing company for Kids Against Hunger of Omaha, Nebraska...

Triple Crown Sweepstakes located in the Centennial Mall, was raided by state gambling authorities in early August.  Police and state gambling enforcement officials confiscated video terminals and shuttered the doors.

A court date will be scheduled as soon as next week.