Isleta Pueblo, Hard Rock Part Ways

The Hard Rock name and an American Indian pueblo south of Albuquerque, N.M., are parting ways.A resort executive announced Wednesday that Isleta Pueblo officials have decided to drop its affiliation with the Hard Rock brand at its casino and resort.

The casino has operated under the name Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Albuquerque for three years and the pueblo has spent millions for the right to use the name.

But pueblo officials said in a recent newsletter that the owner of the franchise did not live up to a contract agreement to provide marketing, management training and services. The newsletter also said the pueblo was trying to reduce a $1 million Hard Rock franchise payment, due at the end of 2012, to $750,000.

Resort executive CEO Pamela Gallegos said in a statement that Isleta Pueblo has decided to return to its own brand to identify it in this market and with its loyal customers.

“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,” Gallegos said.

She added that Isleta believes the property’s future direction “should be directed to its more traditional values.”

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 Albuquerque Journal reports that 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, a brand of its casinos.

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