Casino revenue has historically grown faster than the rest of the economy, but is now recovering more slowly. Brown expects this trend to continue until the U.S. economy has fully recovered.
Gambling revenue on the Las Vegas Strip increased by 2.5 percent in 2012, but grew at a slower rate than it did in 2011. Revenue was 9 percent lower during the first nine months of 2012 than it was in 2007.
Brown linked continued troubles in the Las Vegas economy to the nation's stalled growth. He said the fate of the area is unusually tied to a continued national recovery.
"We're dependent on U.S. growth, particularly in the west, because we are tourism-dependent economy," he said.
Nevada's neighbors are likely four or five years away from a full recovery, Lee McPheters, an economics professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, told conference attendees.
"Western states are recovering; they're not recovered," he said. "What is driving the western economy? Nothing."