Tioga Downs this week broke ground on a $44 million hotel and convention center project that is projected to be fully operational by the spring of 2014.

The expansion project at Nichols, N.Y.-based facility includes a 132-room hotel, and a 7,230-square-foot convention center, a 2,500 square-foot restaurant and a 10,000 square-foot landscaped outdoor terrace with a capacity of 500. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed next year.

Toga Downs operates 808 gaming machines and offers racing on weekends from May to September, a stripped-down approach to racing that many in the industry consider a potential model for unprofitable racetracks. Gaming revenue has about doubled since the project opened in 2006, from $30 million to close to $60 million for the current fiscal year.

“Surprisingly, our business is much stronger than we anticipated,” owner Jeff Gural, told theMorning Times. He added that he plans to approach the state legislature next year on beginning the process of a constitutional amendment that would allow table games in the casino. “The biggest benefit of table games is jobs,” he said. “They do not generate a huge amount of revenue for the casino, but it creates a lot of jobs.”