|By Michael Hartranft, Albuquerque
Journal, N.M.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 08, 2012 --The Pueblo of Isleta is dropping its affiliation with the Hard Rock brand at its popular casino and resort south of Albuquerque and will return to the Isleta Casino brand, a resort executive announced Wednesday.
The resort has operated under the moniker Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque for almost three years. It previously had been known as the Isleta Casino & Resort.
"The Pueblo has decided it is best to return to its own brand to identify it in this market and with its loyal customers," according to a news release from CEO Pamela Gallegos. "The resort had operated under the Isleta Casino brand for over 20 years and the Pueblo believes this has a better connection in its history and culture."
Isleta believes the property's future direction "should be directed to its more traditional values," she said.
Calls requesting comment from Gallegos and Hard Rock's corporate office in Orlando were not immediately returned.
The name change will not affect any current staff or operations, according to the news release.
"In fact, this change should create more growth and job opportunities for tribal members and other members of the community, as well as keeping additional money in the local economy," Gallegos said.
The casino announced in October 2009 it had entered into a franchise agreement with Hard Rock Hotel Holdings LLC and HRHH IP and would take on the global brand name. Terms were not disclosed.
The hotel and resort, which opened in July 2008, underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation, which included construction of a center bar, a trademark feature of Hard Rock casinos. It was also furnished with $2 million in rock 'n' roll memorabilia, something the casinos also are known for.
It was unclear whether the brand change would affect the outdoor concert venue, Hard Rock Casino Albuquerque Presents The Pavilion, near Mesa del Sol.
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