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Sports is big business in Nevada.
Hundreds of taverns cater to NFL fans. Radio devotes three or four talk shows to sports. And people still talk about the good old days of UNLV Running Rebel basketball -- and whether or not it those days will ever return.
Mitch Moss will weigh in with State of Nevada regularly to talk about the state of sports in Nevada. He kept an eye on the sports world here for more than a decade as a host on ESPN radio in Las Vegas. He now hosts a program for VSIN, a sports bettors network.
Here are Moss' takes this week on everything from the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders first-round draft pick to the possibility of wagering on e-sports.
The Raiders picked cornerbck Gareon Conley from Ohio State University. Just before the draft, he was accused of sexual assault. Some have questioned the pick but Moss took a wait-and-see approach: "It's tough to talk about this because none of us know what took place the night he's accused." Some people around the country have already said, 'Well, yeah, of course the Raiders picked this guy; he's going to Las Vegas." Moss said "that doesn't make any sense."
He added that he genuinely believes people in Las Vegas will support the team based on what he saw on draft day. Governor Brian Sandoval and Steve Sisolak, chairman of the Clark County Commission, announced the draft pick in front of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign on the Strip. "And how many fans were there?" Moss said. "In droves they showed up."
UNR/UNLV's Lack Of NFL Draft Picks
UNR hasn't had a player drafted since 2014. It's been a seven-year drought for UNLV. Moss said he thinks both UNR and UNLV are on the upswing, though. UNR has a new coach, Wisconsin native Jay Norvell. He is facing a situation much like coaches who try to take over UNLV's basketball program: It's not easy to live up to the record of UNR's legendary coach Chris Ault, who retired in 2012.
At UNLV, Moss thinks Tony Sanchez, entering his third year, will turn it around. "You have to be patient," Moss said. "And I know that's been said before ... but here's teh thing, there's so much Division 1 talent in Las Vegas, that if he lands a couople of these players, then the waiting will end."
He also thinks the new football stadium, expected to be completed for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020, will help enormously with recruitment.
UNLV Running Rebels
Moss said one-year coach Marvin Menzies, who had a poor first year, will turn it around with his class of recruits that ranks in the top 15 this year. Moss said Menzies took lower-caliber players at his previous job with New Mexico State and turned them into a winning program. He believes he'll do the same with top-tier talent.
Is E-Sports Really A Sport?
"I'm going to lean no on that," Moss replied, laughing.
At the same time, the fact that casinos are starting to cater to e-sports is "awesome for Las Vegas."
"Millennials, when they come to Las Vegsa, don't like to gamble," he said.
E-sports is a way to draw that massive generation of 20- and 30-somethings.
But will there be wagering, sports betting, someday with e-sports?
"Never say never," Moss added. "Right now, maybe that's a little hard to believe but I have to have an open mind."
Mitch Moss, host, VSIN