NBA commissioner Adam Silver expects legalized sports betting to be expanded in the United States and says the league would be willing to be part of it.

Silver said he understands that sports betting could bring additional revenue to bolster the revenue of some struggling states and also benefit the NBA.

"It's inevitable that, if all these states are broke, that there will be legalized sports betting in more states than Nevada," Silver said Thursday at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York. "We will ultimately participate in that."

Silver's view is different from predecessor David Stern, who allowed the NBA in 2012 to join a lawsuit with the NCAA, NFL, MLB and NHL to halt New Jersey's attempt to bring legalized sports betting to casinos and racetracks in the state.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against New Jersey, but the state continues its efforts to seek legalized sports gambling. Stern has since retired.

It's estimated that $380 billion is wagered illegally in the United States each year on sports.

"If you have a gentleman's bet or a small wager on any kind of sports contest, it makes you that much more engaged in it," Silver said. "That's where we're going to see it pay dividends.

"If people are watching a game and clicking to bet on their smartphones, which is what people are doing in the United Kingdom right now, then it's much more likely you're going to stay tuned for a long time."