The referee had a gambling problem, according to the official, and was approached by low-level mob associates through an acquaintance.
According to a law enforcement official, authorities are examining whether the referee made calls to affect the point spread in games on which he or associates had wagered.
The law enforcement official, who spoke to the AP on Friday on condition of anonymity, said the referee was aware of the investigation and had made arrangements to surrender as early as next week to face charges. The official, who did not identify the referee, is familiar with the investigation but was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation.
The law enforcement official said the bets involved thousands of dollars and were made on games during the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons.
The investigation first was reported Friday by the New York Post.
The probe, which began recently, also involves allegations that the referee had connections to organized crime associates. Other arrests are expected, the official said.
The FBI is investigating allegations that a veteran NBA referee bet on basketball games over the past two seasons, including ones in which he officiated.